As its inaugural director, William T.R. Fox launched the Institute into one of the foremost international relations research centers in the country. For Fox, Institute scholarship would “narrow the gap between a preferred future after study and what we would otherwise get.” He held the director title for 25 years, from 1951 to 1976, and also taught in the School of International and Public Affairs. He retired in 1980 but continued to work in his field until shortly before his death in 1988.
Fox authored several books on international relations. He coined the term “The Super-Powers” in his 1944 book by the same name. Among his other books were ”The American Study of International Relations,” published in 1967, ”A Continent Apart: The United States and Canada” (1985) and, with his wife, Annette Baker, ”NATO and the Range of American Choice” (1967).
Professor Fox also co-wrote, edited and contributed to several other books and professional journals in political science and international law.
Before his appointment at Columbia, he taught at Temple, Princeton, and Yale Universities and was a visiting faculty member at Harvard and at the University of Toronto and Carleton University in Canada, as well as at universities in Australia, Mexico and Brazil.
A native of Chicago, Professor Fox was a graduate of Haverford College and received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Chicago. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a former president of the International Studies Association and former vice president of the American Political Science Association.
From 1948 to 1953, he was the first managing editor of the journal World Politics. He was also a founding editor of International Organization. Later he headed the committee on national security policy research of the Social Science Research Council.
On several occasions, Professor Fox was a consultant to the State Department, and he was part of the international staff at the 1945 United Nations Conference in San Francisco, at which the United Nations Charter was drafted. He lectured at the National War College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the war colleges of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.