Department of International Relations
1974-2011 • 37 years
As far as accomplishments go at Bucknell, it's hard to top those of Steve Stamos.
A popular teacher and mentor to both economics and international relations students, Stamos brought passion and energy to the classroom for 37 years. Outside the classroom, he served in administrative and leadership positions across campus. He helped launch two residential college programs, as well as the Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management (ILTM) program. He served on a corporate board of directors and his economics textbook — written with colleagues Jean Shackelford and Geoffrey Schneider — is now in its ninth edition. He was also awarded the University's prestigious Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
"After 37 years, I didn't burn out — I didn't even fear it," Stamos says. "I wanted to go out on top. I had a full stride; I was strong. I could have easily done it for another six or seven years."
So why retire now? Stamos has his reasons, beginning with some advice he got from his close friend and former Bloomsburg University basketball coach Charlie Chronister: "Charlie retired a few years ago, and I asked him how he made his decision. He said, 'Just because you're really good at something doesn't mean you have to keep doing it."
Stamos has plenty to keep him busy. Besides spending more time with his wife and kids, he plans to play more golf, and keep up with the same poker group he's been a member of for three decades. He also wants to write more. Not just in economics or IR, though — he's interested in pursuing fiction writing.
Stamos says he's transitioning, rather than retiring. But you can bet that he won't stop finding new things to fill that time. "There will be no moss growing on me," he says.
Looking back at his long tenure at the University, Stamos points to two experiences that he calls his most memorable. The first is his involvement in and dedication to the residential college program. With his enthusiasm, both the environmental and globalization residential colleges got off the ground.
And the second is the ILTM program, which he helped form with fellow faculty members Tim Sweeney, Jim Orbison and Keith Buffington, and on which he worked closely with Bill Gruver. "Bill and I have became the absolute best of friends," Stamos says. "We created one hell of a program."
And those two experiences are still paying dividends for him: "These are programs that have had major impacts on the place that I love."