Commencement Speaker Michael Hayden Armacost
B.A. Carleton College; M.A., Ph.D. Columbia University
by Fleur W. Metzger
Denison University Publications Editor
Michael H. Armacost, an internationally recognized scholar and leader in the formulation of U.S. policy in East Asia, has been a Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow in the Asia/Pacific Research Center, Institute of International Studies of Stanford University since 2002. He was also at the Center from 1993 to 1995 as a Distinguished Senior Fellow and visiting professor.
Dr. Armacost served as president of the Brookings Institution, the nation's oldest think tank, in Washington, D.C., from 1995 until 2002, and was a leader in research on politics, government, international affairs, economics and public policy. During a distinguished 24-year career in government, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1984-1989). As Ambassador to the Philippines under President Ronald Reagan (1982-1984), he was a key force in helping that country undergo a nonviolent transition to democracy. In 1989, President George H. Bush appointed him Ambassador to Japan, a post that was considered one of the most important and sensitive U.S. diplomatic assignments abroad. He served in that capacity until 1993. He also held senior policy responsibilities in the National Security Council and Department of Defense.
A native of Ohio, Dr. Armacost was educated at Carleton College, Friedrich Wilhelms University and Columbia University where he earned master's and doctoral degrees in public law and government. He began his career in academia as a professor of government at Pomona College. In 1969, he was awarded a White House Fellowship and was assigned to the secretary and deputy secretary of state. Following a stint on the State Department policy planning and coordination staff, he became a special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo from 1972-1974, his first foreign diplomatic post.
Dr. Armacost also has taught and lectured at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and International Christian University. He is the author of three books, the most recent of which, Friends or Rivals? was published in 1996 and draws on his experience as Ambassador to Japan. Among his publications by the Stanford Institute for International Studies are Addressing the North Korea Nuclear Challenge (2003) and A United States Policy for the Changing Realities of East Asia: Toward a New Consensus (1996).
He was the recipient of the President's Distinguished Service Award (1987 and 1989), the Defense Department's Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1980) and the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award (1988) in recognition of his contributions as a specialist in East Asian affairs.
Dr. Armacost is a board member of Carleton College, the Asia Foundation, the American Academy of Diplomacy and a director of AFLAC, Applied Materials and Cargill. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the National Academy of Public Administration.
Dr. Armacost and his wife Roberta are the parents of three grown sons and six grandchildren.