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Former Fort Worth mayor to teach humanitarian aid course at Tarleton
New Tarleton State Faculty Member Hugh Parmer has joined the faculty of Tarleton State University's Department of Social Sciences within the College of Liberal & Fine Arts. Parmer will teach a new course this fall that examines responses to humanitarian crises.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Meet new Tarleton State University faculty member Hugh Parmer and you’ll think Indiana Jones.

Not because of his signature fedora, but because of his worldwide adventures.

Students enrolled in a new fall course that examines responses to humanitarian crises will hear Parmer’s quests firsthand. Everything from getting emergency food and medical supplies to ethnic Albanians forced from their homes in Kosovo to solving the logistical challenges of aiding East Africans in the midst of drought and war.

“The first part of the course explores modern day international responses to the emergency needs of people affected by natural disasters, civil unrest and armed conflicts since the Cold War,” Parmer explained. “We’ll assess different kinds of foreign assistance, look at who provides humanitarian relief and consider the potential for damage and recovery.”

The second half of the class, Parmer said, prepares students for careers in humanitarian organizations like the Peace Corps. Students will learn how to set up a refugee camp, even build a latrine.

It’s what he calls a balanced curriculum that informs and inspires.

“Humanitarian crises are everyday news,” Parmer said, “from the deteriorating situation in the Congo to more than 13 million people who need assistance in Syria to U.S. immigration, but we really don’t understand their tremendous impact on global relations. We’ll take a careful look at that.

“With understanding comes the desire to help,” he explained. “There’s a latent interest in most of us to make the world a better place, to save a life, to do good. I’ve never taught a class where one or more students didn’t want to know how to get involved in humanitarian service.”

Veterans have made up much of the enrollment in similar classes Parmer’s taught elsewhere. Their foreign experience and military skills are a good match for myriad careers in humanitarian aid, he said.

“We are very excited to have Hugh join our faculty for the fall and offer a course that will help students gain valuable knowledge and insights on international relief,” said Dr. Eric Morrow, head of Tarleton’s Department of Social Sciences. “He truly brings a world of experience to the classroom.”

Parmer’s course material comes directly from his long career in politics and humanitarian assistance, beginning in 1962 as the youngest member of the Texas House of Representatives. He served in various organizations—the Peace Corps and the U.S. Department of Commerce, to name a few—during President Lyndon Johnson’s administration before becoming Fort Worth’s youngest mayor in 1977.

Following an eight-year stint in the Texas Senate, he managed disaster relief efforts in more than 80 countries as chief of the Humanitarian Response Bureau, part of the U.S. Agency for International Development. His boots were on the ground for 14 crises, including the deadliest hurricanes to strike the Caribbean since 1780.

After his government career, he served six years as president of the American Refugee Committee, a private nonprofit relief organization with some 2,000 employees and programs in a dozen disaster stricken countries.

Parmer has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a master’s from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a licensed attorney and mediator.

Recently, a family friend approached Parmer’s wife, Evelyn, at a social event and congratulated her on “being married to two fascinating men.” Realizing she was a little confused, he quipped, “The former mayor of Fort Worth, and Indiana Jones.”

For information on Tarleton’s social sciences program, visit www.tarleton.edu/socialsciences/.

Tarleton, celebrating 100 years as founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. As a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, leadership, excellence and service.

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Contact: Cecilia Jacobs, Public Relations Manager
817-597-6040
cjacobs@tarleton.edu

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New Tarleton State Faculty Member

Hugh Parmer has joined the faculty of Tarleton State University's Department of Social Sciences within the College of Liberal & Fine Arts. Parmer will teach a new course this fall that examines responses to humanitarian crises.