Alumni Profile

Rodger Swearingen ’46

International Scholar Although he’s traveled much of the globe as a scholar and advisor in the field of international relations, Rodger Swearingen ’46 always came home to USC. Save for service as a captain in military intelligence during World War II

and earning his Ph.D. at Harvard – where he had a fellowship at the Russian Research Center and became friends with another graduate student named Henry Kissinger – his academic base has been the University Park Campus. As a student, he took his B.A. (’46) and M.A. (’48) here and played lead trombone in the band and orchestra. He returned to USC’s School of International Relations in 1954 as an assistant professor, where he created the field of Soviet policy and world communism in the school and taught courses and seminars on the subject until his retirement in 1993.
Now, as professor emeritus, Swearingen has donated his personal research library to USC. “I had collected more than 800 titles, carefully assembled during my years of foreign travel and research and consulting,” says Swearingen, “and focused on Soviet affairs and Japan.”

Swearingen (left) and his wife, Darlene, during an early ’80s visit with a friend from his graduate school days, Henry Kissinger.

During the 1960s, Swearingen created and directed the USC Research Institute on Communist Strategy and Propaganda, established with a $1 million grant from USC trustee Henry Salvatori. A separate building was constructed to house the institute, which popularly became known “as ‘Red Square,’ ” he quips. Swearingen also brought his knowledge to television, moderating a 35-week documentary series entitled “Communism: Myth vs. Reality,” which aired on CBS-owned stations nationwide and on U.S. Armed Service stations abroad.
His expertise is based on first-hand experience. “I’ve had many rewarding invitations over the years from foreign governments,” explains Swearingen. He also served as consultant with the RAND Corporation (for 14 years), the U.S. government and industry.
Since 1957, Swearingen has made six visits to the former Soviet Union, including a recent second visit to Siberia, and a first visit to the Naval Base, Vladivostok, in 1993. “They provided invaluable data and documentation for future analysis of continuity and change there,” he says.
Swearingen has authored or edited 10 books – his readership ranges from high school and college students to former presidents. The World of Communism, for example, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1966, was used in schools throughout the U.S. After reading The Soviet Union and Postwar Japan (Hoover Institution Press, 1978), Richard Nixon wrote to Swearingen praising the book as “an indispensable analysis for policy makers during the next 20 years.” His most recent, edited volume, Siberia and the Soviet Far East (Hoover, 1987), was selected as Book of the Year by the American Association of Research Libraries.
Rodger and his wife, Darlene, recently moved from Arcadia to a new home in Harbor Cove, Newport Beach, where they plan to keep active in their respective fields of international relations and education and as members of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.


 

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Roger Swearingen '46

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Stacy Kravetz M.A. '92


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Photograph by USC News Service

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