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Simmons College Professor Receives Presidential Award

Former Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Thomas Hull Recognized

BOSTON (November 5, 2009) — The U.S. Department of State has announced that Simmons College Warburg Professor of Political Science and International Relations Thomas Hull has received a Presidential Meritorious Service Award, approved by President Barack Obama, for his accomplishments as U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone from 2004 to 2007.

This is Hull's second Presidential Meritorious Service Award. He received his first Presidential Meritorious Service Award from President Clinton in 1993 for his work in transforming communist Czechoslovakia into the democratic Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Presidential Meritorious Service Award is given to past and present State Department officials for leadership and advancement of U.S. foreign policy. While serving as ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hull worked on ensuring that their presidential election was free and fair, and helped to resume visa services at the embassy that had been terminated during the country's civil war. Hull also advocated for the return of the Peace Corps to Sierra Leone, led the completion of a new $65 million U.S. embassy in Freetown, and directed creative fundraising for the rehabilitation of the John F. Kennedy Building at the University of Sierra Leone.

His 31-year diplomatic career has included assignments in South Africa, Nigeria, and Somalia, and he founded the Fulbright Commissions for Educational Exchange. Hull began his career as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Sierra Leone. His educational background includes a bachelor's degree from Dickinson College and master's and doctoral degrees from Columbia University.

The Warburg Chair was created in the early 1980s by Simmons alumna Joan Melber Warburg to educate people about international affairs, and usually carries a two-year term. As chair, Hull teaches a senior seminar course and holds lectures for faculty, staff, and students.

Simmons College is a nationally recognized private university located in Boston. It offers an undergraduate education for women, and coeducational graduate programs in health sciences, education, liberal arts, social work, library and information science, and communications management, as well as the nation's first MBA program designed specifically for women.