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A former advisor to the Nixon administration spoke to undergraduates over a casual lunch on Friday.

Richard Nathan, the assistant director of the United States Office of Management and Budget during President Nixon’s time in office, joined students for a lecture sponsored by the Fox Leadership Program. Students filled their stomachs with sandwiches from Greek Lady while Nathan filled their minds with keys to succeeding in politics and other careers.

Nathan spent his undergraduate years at Brown University, where he realized he wanted to study government in a “big way.” He continued to study politics at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and shortly after took a job under New York Senator Kenneth Keating as a ghostwriter. Nathan went on to the Brookings Institution to write books for 10 years until deciding to return to Harvard for his Ph.D. and subsequently enter the world of academia as a professor at Princeton University.

Nathan is now retired and looks back satisfied with his fulfilling and impactful career in government. As he advised Penn students about how to choose their own professional track, he recommended that it was most beneficial to be an “inner-outer” of society. In other words, he believes in the value of spending time working both in and out of the public sector. Nathan thought it important to leave Penn undergraduates with the reminder that “once you’re in government, you can get a good job outside of it because now you are a somebody.”

Director of the Fox Leadership Program and Political Science professor John DiIulio, who attended Friday’s lunch, described Nathan as a true leader in that he is “living proof that there was a time when people were looked to from both political parties.” Nathan is a man every student at Penn can learn from in the respect he earned amongst contending government officials, he added. DiIulio believes that men like Nathan remind us why “we need to do a better job encouraging students to go into public service because it is the most satisfying career” for anyone truly looking to lead and make a difference in this country.

Penn Democrats President and College junior Isabel Friedman was enlightened by the lecture, as she realized that although in today’s world “there is not a culture for forging a career in public service, working in government is one of the most rewarding professions you could have.”

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