Texas Tech University

Senator brings world experience to classroom

Robert Krueger Class


Visiting professor Robert Krueger is sharing his world-tested experiences as teacher, businessman and statesman with students during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Krueger has been a university professor, dean and vice provost, businessman, chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator, U.S. ambassador (three times) and special representative of the U.S. Secretary of State.

During the fall 2011 semester, Krueger taught the senior-level class Heroes in Life and Literature. The seminar explored how exceptional men and women influenced millions of people for the benefit of mankind and what can be learned from them to lead richer, fuller lives.

Krueger led the students in discussions of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Hildegard of Bingen, Mohandas Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Paul Rusesabagina (the real-life hero of the movie “Hotel Rwanda” and three Shakespearean tragic heroes: Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Macbeth.

The focus of his spring class is Studies in Political Science.

Krueger was born in New Braunfels and earned degrees at Southern Methodist University, Duke University and Oxford University, England. In 1961 at age 25, he began teaching literature at Duke, where 11 years later he was named vice provost and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Upon his father's death in 1973, Krueger returned to Texas to head the family businesses that included hosiery manufacturing, an auto dealership and cattle operation. A year later, he won a seat in the U.S. Congress and worked on energy economics and policy and civil rights legislation.

After winning a second congressional term, Krueger challenged the U.S. Senate incumbent in 1978 but lost by 0.3 percent of the vote. The following year he was appointed ambassador-at-large for Mexican affairs at the State Department.

Two years later, he returned to Texas to engage in business and hold visiting professorships at the University of Texas, Rice University and SMU.

Krueger returned to public service in 1990 when he won a seat to the Texas Railroad Commission. Governor Ann Richards then tapped him in 1993 to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Lloyd Bentsen. When Krueger lost the special election later that year, President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to Burundi, where his outspoken defense of human rights led to an assassination attempt on his life.

In 1996 Krueger was named U.S. ambassador to Botswana. Two years later, he served as special representative of the Secretary of State to the Southern African Development Community, which was comprised of 14 African countries. At the end of that appointment in 1999, Krueger returned to academics and business.