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Cheney has strong UW ties

July 25, 2000

Richard B. Cheney, named Tuesday, July 25, as George W. Bush’s Republican vice presidential candidate, has strong ties to UW–Madison.

Cheney, a former Wyoming congressman, secretary of defense under President George Bush and chief of staff to President Gerald Ford, attended the university as a doctoral student in political science from 1966-68.

He was a full-time student for his first three semesters and a part-time student for the final semester. Cheney left UW–Madison in 1968 for a congressional fellowship in Washington, D.C. He did not complete his degree.

Emeritus Professor Bernard Cohen, who also served as acting chancellor in 1987, was chairman of the political science department when Cheney studied at UW–Madison. Cheney did not take any classes from the retired professor, but Cohen helped work out the technical details of his congressional fellowship.

“He came across then just as he does now — earnest, serious and hard-working,” Cohen says.

Cohen says he was “impressed” that Cheney worked for Wisconsin Gov. Warren P. Knowles during his time as a student at UW–Madison.

“He had maturity beyond that of the typical graduate student,” he says.

M. Crawford Young, professor of political science, says Cheney took one course from him during his two years of study on the Madison campus.

“He was a quiet and competent member of my class,” Young says.

Other professors on campus during Cheney’s days as a graduate student have since retired or left the university. Those contacted remember Cheney as having studied at UW–Madison but don’t recall him specifically as a student in their classes.

Cheney’s wife, Lynne, is a UW–Madison graduate. She attended classes as a graduate student from 1966 to 1968 and earned a Ph.D. in English in 1970. Her dissertation is titled: “Matthew Arnold’s possible perfection: A study of the Kantian strain in Arnold’s poetry.”