17:02 PM

Dr. Richard Sindelar: Foreign Policy Expert Who Raised UST Profile Retires

Retiring foreign policy expert, Assistant Professor Dr. Richard SindelarThe University of St. Thomas-Houston’s resident foreign policy expert, Assistant Professor Dr. Richard Sindelar, is retiring after a career that began with 23 years in the U.S. Foreign Service; 16 years as a lawyer focused on treaties, trades, and immigration; and the last 20 years adding to the respect and credibility of UST’s formidable Department of International Studies.

His Impact on UST

In 2003, when formerDirector of UST’s Center for International Studies, Professor William “Bill” Cunningham, brought Sindelar into the UST circle, he brought extensive on-the-ground experience in doing the real work of diplomacy. He became a full-time professor in 2012, teaching Foreign Policy, International Law, International Security, Middle East Studies, and the Master’s Seminar in Diplomacy and Strategic Affairs.  

Dr. Sindelar at Distinguished Diplomat Program luncheon for Amb. John TefftIn collaboration with Cunningham, Sindelar developed the Distinguished Diplomat Program (DDP) to bring world-stage professionals recognized as significant players in the field of diplomacy. Each of these career diplomats impacted the shaping of foreign policy. Annually, the DDP has attracted such foreign affairs luminaries as Amb. John Negroponte, Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Nicolas Platt, Amb. Anne Patterson, Amb. Chris Hill and Amb. John Tefft.

Also, Sindelar is often called upon by local news media outlets to advise on breaking foreign policy news, bringing his considerable expertise to the conversation. His contributions have raised the profile of the University within the foreign affairs community, both in Houston and nationally.

What Makes Sindelar Most Proud

“When I became full-time at St. Thomas, we had two UST alumni serving in some capacity in the U.S. Foreign Service,” Sindelar recalled. “We now have nine serving with the U.S. State Department. Prof. Eric Botts and Bill Cunningham helped with that too. For a small school to have nine people in the State Department is a brag-worthy accomplishment. I’m most pleased about that.”

Sindelar says he teaches what students of diplomacy need to know to get a job and hold a job, whether it’s with the government, a business or non-governmental organizations.

“It’s about diplomacy writ large,” he explained. “My students learn how to bring people together.”

Beloved, Admired, and Honored

Patti and Rick Sindelar & John and Mariella Tefft at DDP eventDirector of UST’s Global Cybersecurity Program, Assistant Professor Eric Botts, said, “Rick is beloved and admired by UST students, faculty colleagues, co-workers, and staff. He has shepherded many UST students into careers in foreign affairs, particularly the U.S. Department of State as foreign service professionals. This is his legacy, University of St. Thomas students serving their country as representatives in our nation's corps of diplomats.” 

On April 28, Sindelar will be honored at Professor of the Year at the Annual Leadership Banquet, from 4 – 6 p.m., in the CSHP Atrium. UST’s students choose the Professor of the Year through student nominations for their “work ethic and great passion to make UST a better place as a representative of our four core values in and out of the classroom.”

Looking Down the Road

About retirement, Sindelar said, “Wherever you are in life, there is something ahead. You don’t know what, but there is something. And it’s going to be fun.”

For instance, he and his wife enjoy traveling. Or he may join his filmmaking son on a documentary project as a producer. Or maybe become an author. 

“I’ve been looking for 20 years for a textbook that talks about the craft of diplomacy, an all-encompassing knowledge bank of the practical tools and how to use them,” Sindelar mused. “Maybe I’ll write it.”