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Bookend Alumni Profiles

George Condon earned the bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, and the master's and doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee. He was the second person to complete a doctorate in the Department of Political Science.

Condon's background includes extensive academic experience as well as work in the public affairs arena.  His extensive academic administrative experience includes serving as vice president for academic affairs, executive assistant to the president, dean, and teaching faculty member on four California State University campuses, Washington State University (tenured at WSU and CSU Northridge), the University of the Virgin Islands, Shepherd (State) University in West Virginia, Texas Tech University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Condon was awarded a Congressional Fellowship by the American Political Science Association and has been honored with postgraduate appointments by the British Council, Claremont Graduate School, and Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management.  He has been a consultant on state government reorganization and constitutional reform in Minnesota, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington State, and with the National Governors Association.  He was a founder and first administrator of a government research and service unit at WSU and also of the WSU regional campus in Vancouver, Washington.

Arriving at University of the Pacific in 2002, Condon focused on undergraduate experiential learning, developing and administering the Jacoby Center's Sacramento and Washington, DC internship programs, utilizing previous experience at WSU, in the office of Washington State's governor, and in the U.S Congress.  He also contributed to civic leadership programs and public forums on public affairs/civic engagement sponsored by the Jacoby Center and the Division of Student Life.  In the community, he is an occasional newspaper columnist and has served on various advisory committees dealing with local government, K-12 education, economic development, and intergovernmental relations.  His research and writing are in the areas of state constitutional revision and executive reorganization, higher education planning and governance, curriculum design, and accreditation.

In May 2015, George Condon completed a twelve year post-retirement stint at nearby University of the Pacific, and recently was appointed Visiting Scholar at the University of San Francisco's Leo J. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good.  This past summer he represented UT at the inauguration of USF's new President.

Eric Keller, soon to be Dr. Eric Keller (there are a few i's to dot and a few t's to cross), is the most recent doctoral graduate of the Department of Political Science.  He completed a bachelor's degree in anthropology and psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1976.  At the time he describe himself as more or less, a hippie. So, of course, he joined the Air Force through Officer Training School. From there, he went to San Francisco Theological Seminary (Presbyterian USA) from 1980 to 1984 and graduated with a Masters of Divinity. His initial parish was a very rural, poverty parish in northeast Missouri. Keller joined the U.S.

Army chaplaincy in 1986.  He was sent to Honduras and ultimately to Germany when the wall came down. The Army sent him to get a master's degree in Family Studies to conduct marriage and family therapy at Fort Carson. After completing another school where he earned a Masters of Military Art and Science degree, Keller was teaching tactics at US Army Chaplain Center and School when the attacks of September 11 occurred. 

He went to be operations office for Chief of Chaplains at Pentagon from 2004-2008 and served as the foreign policy strategist (keeps Chief of Chaplain in the loop) and operations action officer for the Iraq/Afghanistan war.

Keller retired in 2008 as a Lieutenant Colonel and went to Charleston, South Carolina where he was an assistant pastor at a large, urban Presbyterian church for a short time. Subsequently, he became a Tactical Officer for the Citadel from 2008-2010 culminating a battalion TAC responsible for 400 cadets. 

Remarkably, Keller then took an unusual fork in the road, moving to live on the Navajo reservation for six months in 2010—11.  After experiencing sweat lodges and long desert walks, Keller decided to go back to school in political science to pursue a doctorate.

His wife wanted to live in Tennessee and Keller loves to hike; therefore, UT became a viable option for graduate school. He began his graduate studies in Fall 2011.  Given his background, he gravitated to the study of International Relations, but took a class with Professor Nate Kelly about U.S. economic inequality which inspired him, prompting a change in focus to American Politics.  In his view, that inequality is as much of a threat to the U.S. as the enemies he confronted while on active duty.  

He began working on his dissertation in the summer of 2012 and defended his dissertation at the beginning of the summer of 2015.  Happily, Keller just found out that his manuscript, "Partisan Politics, Financial Deregulation, and the New Gilded Age," has been accepted for publication by Political Research Quarterly.  He will be staying on campus to teach in the department during the 2015-16 academic year. He is scheduled to teach US Foreign Policy and Parties and Elections in the Fall, a microcosm of his wide ranging interests and expertise.

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