UTC Scholarship Honors Memory Of Dr. Bob Swansbrough

Friday, September 13, 2013
Shown, from left to right, are Annie Swansbrough, James Swansbrough holding Wynton Swansbrough, Mary Swansbrough,  Dacey Cockrill, Christy Swansbrough, Dr. Michelle Deardorff
Shown, from left to right, are Annie Swansbrough, James Swansbrough holding Wynton Swansbrough, Mary Swansbrough, Dacey Cockrill, Christy Swansbrough, Dr. Michelle Deardorff

The new head of the UTC Department of Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management never had the opportunity to meet the late Dr. Bob Swansbrough, but she perfectly described the longtime UTC professor of political science and administrator at a recent gathering of friends and colleagues.

“We are here to celebrate the endowment of a scholarship to honor the memory of Dr. Bob Swansbrough…it is rare to endow a scholarship so quickly and to award it,” said Dr. Michelle Deardorff. “Not only was Bob an academic and an intellectual, he was a leader in the community.  And that’s exactly what we want for our students, to learn to lead and to be involved in our community.”

Dr. Swansbrough held the position of associate dean of The College of Arts and Sciences from1992 until he died in February 2011. He served as head of the Department of Political Science at UTC from 1981-1991. He joined the UTC faculty in 1971.

He was selected as a 2009-2010 Fulbright Scholar to China. Swansbrough’s book Test by Fire: The War Presidency of George W. Bush was published in 2008.

He was appointed to head a UTC faculty committee to determine the feasibility and academic requirements of re-establishing ROTC, which led to the creation of the Department of Military Science on campus. Dr. Swansbrough himself served in the military as a Division Officer, US Navy from 1961 to 1965.

He was often asked to offer his views as a political analyst for Tennessee television stations and print publications.

In 1974, Dr. Swansbrough served as 3rd District campaign coordinator for Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd and then as her administrative assistant from 1975-77.  He was a delegate to the 1972 Hamilton County and 3rd District Democratic conventions.

Dr. Herbert Burhenn, former Dean of Arts and Sciences at UTC, talked about his good friend of 40 years.

“He was a wonderful colleague who could make sense of the political world, which I found challenging,” Dr. Burhenn said.  “I am delighted Bob’s friends and colleagues wish to cherish his memory with this scholarship.”

The Political Science Scholarship Committee chaired by Dr. David Carrithers, Adolph Ochs Professor of Government, developed the criteria for the Dr. Robert H. Swansbrough Endowed Scholarship Fund in Political Science.  The scholarship is open to current junior or senior students who demonstrate successful academic performance.  The first recipient is Dacey Cockrill. 

“Ms. Cockrill was selected by a department committee from a long list of highly deserving students. She is a straight A legal studies student from Maryville, Tennessee, with an excellent record of leadership positions and extracurricular activities on the UTC campus.  She is a very deserving person to be named first recipient of this scholarship that honors Dr. Swansbrough, who made outstanding contributions to the Department of Political Science and to the university as a whole during many years of distinguished service,” Dr. Carrithers said.

At UTC Ms. Cockrill has participated in Freshmen Senate and she has served on Student Government committees.  She has attended LeadUTC, LeaderShape, the Undergraduate Interfraternal Institute, Fraternity and Sorority Life Academy, and Fraternity and Sorority Life Executive Institute. Ms. Cockrill is an active member of Chi Omega and serves as the Vice President of Records for the Panhellenic council. 

“I am so grateful that the Political Science department chose me for this scholarship.  After meeting Dr. Swansbrough's family, I am honored to be endowed with a scholarship commemorating such a wonderful person,” Ms. Cockrill said.

To contribute to the scholarship, please call the UTC Office of Development at 423 425-4232 for details.

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