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Richard J. Stillman II, PhD

School of Public Affairs

Fulbright Distinguished Chair

Budapest, Hungary 1992-1993


Lecturing in Budapest during the Transition to the New Hungarian Democracy

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first President Bush established the John Marshall Distinguished Chair in 1990 to promote the teaching of constitutional and administrative studies at the primer social science university in the new Hungarian Democracy. Richard Stillman, professor of public administration, was the second appointee to the John Marshall Chair; Stillman's expertise included teaching on the American Constitution and many areas of public administration.

With a Fulbright assignment, Stillman arrived at Budapest University of Economic Sciences, formerly named Karl Marx University. One of the first things he noticed was a huge statue of Karl Marx upon entry into the institution. Stillman's aim was to teach public administration in a changing environment (one in which he found the complete writings of Marx easily available in his office).

The students were interested in Stillman's teachings and classes were well-attended. Stillman modestly atributes this, in part, to the fact that the Hungarian students were also eager to learn to speak English. At that time, a special wage premium was offered for people with English skills. With the extra funds from his  John Marshall Chair grant, Stillman purchased the first computers for the university and new books for its library--the first up-to-date, non-Marxist, social science texts. He was considered the ‘good American’ on campus and well-appreciated by the faculty/staff and student.  To this day, Stillman views the experience as quite unique; he looks back on it with fond memories.

“My experience was before the ATM and cell phone days. I had to bring over all the cash that I planned on using during my stay (traveler's checks) and make weekly appointments at the hotel to call home. The former Communist Government restricted distributing phones for obvious reasons. I am certain Hungary is not the same place today.”

- Richard J. Stillman II, PhD
School of Public Affairs


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