By David Carroll

dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-  Dr. Robert (Bob) Swansbrough, longtime professor of political science and administrator at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has died following a brief illness. He was also a nationally-known author and political analyst.  In addition to his academic work, he was frequently interviewed by local and national media on political issues, and was the original host of WTCI's "Tennessee Insider" which premiered in 2006.

Dr. Swansbrough, 72, had joined UTC in 1971.  He served as the Associate Dean of The College of Arts and Sciences since 1992 and earlier served as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1990-92.  He was named head of the Department of Political Science at UTC from 1981-1991.

Visitation will take place at First Centenary United Methodist Church on McCallie Avenue on Friday from 4-7 p.m.  His service will be on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the same location.

On WRCB's Facebook page, many friends and former students are paying tribute to the man they call a "favorite professor."  Tonia Sherrill wrote, "Dr. Swansbrough was a brilliant man. The discussions he brought to the classroom were always interesting."  Randy Black commented, "He was one of the greatest teachers ever.  He was so knowledgeable about politics. He even stated that Al Gore vs. George W. Bush could be a statistical tie over a year before the (2000 presidential) election."  It was that kind of insight that brought Dr. Swansbrough regional and national attention, and respect for his views on the electoral process.

Here is further information on his long and productive career from UTC:

His research has focused on electoral politics in Tennessee and in the South, American foreign policy, party realignment and realignment in Tennessee, and political psychology as applied to Presidential decision making.  His teaching areas included American Government, World Politics, International Relations, The Presidency, American Foreign Policy, Political Leadership, Presidential Personality and Congress.   

Swansbrough was selected as a 2009-2010 Fulbright Scholar to China.  He taught an undergraduate course in American Government and a graduate seminar on US Foreign Policy at Sichuan University, a campus with 60,000 students in Chengdu, a city of 12 million in southwest China. He was asked to visit numerous university campuses in China to present Fulbright guest lectures.  Additionally, Swansbrough was asked to be a scholarly participant in a conference organized by the Center for American Studies in Guangzhou entitled "China-US Relations under the Obama Administration: Theory & Policy."

Swansbrough's book Test by Fire: The War Presidency of George W. Bush was published in 2008 (Palgrave Macmillan). 

Beginning in 2006, Swansbrough was appointed to head a UTC faculty committee to determine the feasibility and academic requirements of re-establishing ROTC and creating a Department of Military Science on campus. ROTC was initially established in 1950.  It was selected for closure in 1994 due to national budgetary cuts.  By 1997, the ROTC program had been shut down.  In 2007, the ROTC unit was activated once again. 

For his tireless efforts in establishing the UTC Department of Military Science, Swansbrough was presented the General William E. DePuy Award by the U.S. Army Cadet Command (USACC) at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.  The DePuy Award is considered the most prestigious award bestowed by Cadet Command, the parent organization of the Army ROTC program.  Swansbrough was selected from 11 other nominees from around the country.

Swansbrough himself served in the military as a Division Officer, US Navy from 1961 to 1965.  He served as a commissioned line officer with management responsibilities on the U.S.S. Brain and U.S.N.S. Sultan.  He attended naval Justice School and served as Legal Officer on both vessels.

In 1974, Swansbrough served as 3rd District campaign coordinator for Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd and then as her administrative assistant from 1975-77. 

He was a delegate to the 1972 Hamilton County and 3rd District Democratic conventions. He had also served as president of the Hamilton County Young Democrats and worked in local campaigns.

Before coming to the Chattanooga area, he worked in the Washington offices of Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris and California Senator John Tunney.  He previously served as Legislative Assistant to California State Senator Alvin C. Weingand in Santa Barbara. 

Swansbrough received the Ph.D. (Political Science) from the University of California at Santa Barbara, 1972; the M.A. (Political Science) from UCSB, 1967; and the B.A. (History) from California State University at Long Beach, 1961. 

In 1993, he completed the Harvard University Management Development Program, Graduate School of Education.