RIP: Prof. Arthur S. Hulnick

April 18, 2018

Prof. Art Hulnick

Arthur S. Hulnick, Associate Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, died in Boston on April 18, 2018, after a protracted illness.

Known affectionately to friends, colleagues, and students as ‘Art’, Hulnick was a beloved teacher and colleague specializing in strategic and business intelligence. He established the study of intelligence at Boston University, at what was then called the Department of International Relations and is now the Pardee School of Global Studies. He had retired from active teaching in 2015 and continued to live in Brookline. He was honored by his colleagues with the title of Emeritus and celebrated at the 2015 Pardee School Convocation ceremony.

Reacting to the news, Pardee School Dean Adil Najam said, “Art Hulnick’s loss is felt very deeply here at the Pardee School. He not only helped shape the intellect and careers of generations of students, but he literally helped shape what is now the Pardee School. He was a dignified and wise persona. A man of few words, but blessed with a sharp and ready wit, deep insight, and much caring for his colleagues, his students, and the University. Art Hulnick will be dearly missed.”

A graduate of Princeton University, Hulnick served as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Air Force where one of his first jobs was interviewing North Korean defectors. After completing his military service at the rank of captain, he embarked on a 28-year career at the CIA. In recognition of his service, he received the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal. 

Among his noteworthy assignments were serving on the President’s Daily Brief, the ultimate American government intelligence product, and as the Director of the CIA’s Watch Office. Hulnick also served as the speechwriter for CIA Director William Webster.  His last assignment was as an Officer in Residence at Boston University before retiring in 1992.

“He was a professional in the CIA who was not afraid to speak the facts to power. At faculty meetings he could cut into the discussion and push the group on to make a decision,” said Joseph Wippl, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Pardee School and former CIA officer. “He was a very engaged teacher with students on both the undergraduate and graduate level.  He was always available to mentor M.A. thesis or policy papers.  He loved Boston University and his part in the Department of International Relations.”

An April 25, 2018 obituary for Hulnick was published in The Boston GlobeFrom the text of the article:

When Mr. Hulnick first arrived at BU as a CIA officer-in-residence, he developed courses on strategic intelligence for the international relations department. Upon retiring from the CIA in 1992, he became a lecturer in the department and then an associate professor. He retired from the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies in 2015.

“He really loved teaching,” his daughter said. “As much as he enjoyed intelligence and his adventures, I think teaching is where he really found his passion.”

Instead of briefing the President to the United States, Hulnick briefed rooms of enthralled students with his insights and explanations of the complexities of the multi-faceted world of intelligence. He was not only valued as a teacher but also as a student adviser, and his exemplary service was recognized the award of the College of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Student Advising. His contributions to Boston University also include serving as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of International Relations.

“Art Hulnick always had a twinkle in his eye. He had a wry sense of humor. I always had the feeling that he got a kick out of observing ‘the human comedy’ in the department of international relations, the precursor to the Pardee School,” said William Keylor, Professor of International Relations and History at the Pardee School. “He was a mentor to many students and a beloved colleague. We will miss him greatly.”

Through his publications, including his books Fixing the Spy Machine and Keeping Us Safe:  Secret Intelligence and Homeland Security, innumerable articles, and, above all teaching a generation of students at Boston University, Hulnick contributed substantially to the field of Intelligence Studies.  In 2011, he was honored for his academic work by the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association with its distinguished Scholar Award.

Hulnick cared deeply about intelligence ethics, and was a passionate opponent of torture and “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He also emphasized to students that the baseline of ethics in intelligence is presenting the truth to the policymaker, as best as we can know the truth based on facts.  Through his own example and through his teaching, he impressed on a generation of students the importance of embodying professional ethics throughout their careers.

Interviewed at the time of his retirement, Prof. Hulnick reflected upon his professional and academic career in intelligence studies with characteristic clarity:

“My favorite thing was to be woken up at four in the morning and be told I needed to write something for the President’s briefing at eight… I’ve had the opportunity to teach intelligence and to watch it from the outside. In some ways, I don’t think the profession has changed since my time. Espionage is constant; there were probably spies recruited by Joshua at the Battle of Jericho, and that still happens today. But the way intelligence is gathered, that’s changed. We do so much [now] with cyber tools… I do not think that anybody who is a professional intelligence officer wants to harm people. Some mistakes are made, and the media capitalizes on them, but the intention isn’t to invade privacy. It’s to protect people.”

“In personal terms, I knew Art as a dedicated and devoted professor who prized critical, crisp thinking and clear, concise writing. He enjoyed teaching and mentoring his students. For example, his after-class sessions at Cornwall’s Pub on campus were popular fixtures for IR graduate students eager for discussion and debate,” said John D. Woodward, Jr., Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Pardee School. “To me, Art was an avuncular figure who gave me straightforward advice and wise counsel.  He was a patriot and a scholar whom I am privileged to remember as a colleague and friend.”

“Art Hulnick was the first faculty I met when I came to the IR Department 23 years ago. I knew instantly that he would be a model for me how to combine intellectual breadth and government service into a coherent and intellectually stimulating manner of teaching the discipline,” said Michael Corgan, Associate Professor of International Relations at the Pardee School. “He was that and a good friend and colleague as well. Most of all I’ll miss the good humor that informed his keen insights.”

“Art Hulnick was one of the first people I met at BU. He soon became a role model for me, thanks to his dedication to his students and his commitment to communicating not only the art and science of intelligence, but also the singular importance of professional ethics,” said William Grimes, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Pardee School. “Art was deeply opposed to the use of torture and believed strongly in the responsibility of intelligence professionals to determine and report the truth, no matter how inconvenient. His many former students now in the intelligence community could have asked for no better role model in that regard than Art himself.”

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