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Geographer of Opportunity

CIA analyst-turned-professor Alan C. More ’69 owes his career to the liberal arts

Aug 27, 2014 — Article by: Laura Bulman

Photo of Richard Thompson, Nancy Cantor, and Alan More

Alan C. More '69 (far right), with Richard L. Thompson G'67, chair of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees; and Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark (formerly of Syracuse)

This past spring, Alan C. More ’69 received the inaugural Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award from George Mason University (GMU), where he has taught since 2005.

The award was the latest in a string of accolades for the retired CIA intelligence analyst, who majored in geography in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. At GMU, More has also received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Criminology, Law, and Society Department and the Faculty Achievement Award from the Bachelor of Individualized Study program.

“I encourage students to look critically at the world in which they live,” says the Washington, D.C., resident, who also studied economics at Syracuse. “The academic rigor I encountered at Syracuse University raised the bar for me as an undergraduate and, subsequently, as a teacher. As a result, I want my own students to not just do the work, but to formulate their own opinions.”

More knows a thing or two about critical thinking, having worked on the President’s Daily Brief during the Reagan era, in which he provided intelligence to the vice president, national security advisor, and other senior officials. More also was assigned to the departments of State and Treasury and to the Council on Environmental Quality. Upon his retirement in 2005, he was awarded the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal for his exceptional career achievement.

Since then, More has spent most of his time at GMU, where, in addition to teaching courses in intelligence analysis and interdisciplinary studies, he has served as an employer-in-residence for U.S. Government Programs. He also teaches writing, leadership, and environmental policy to federal agencies across the country.

It’s all in a day’s work for the tall, lanky son of an itinerant Foreign Service Officer. After living in Asia and Africa, More landed at Syracuse, where he excelled in the classroom and on the men’s rowing team. What little spare time he had was spent cheering on the Orange in the now-defunct Archbold Stadium, ice skating in Thornden Park, or hanging with friends on Marshall Street.

“It was a special time of my life,” recalls More, who, like his parents, is an active Syracuse alumnus.

Looking back, More credits much of his professional moxie to professors such as Robert Jensen (More's geography advisor who became dean of the College), who instilled in him a passion for the liberal arts. It was Jensen who also persuaded More to become a geographer for the federal government.

“I’ve always seemed to fall back on my Syracuse liberal arts education, wherever there are issues to be addressed and problems to be solved,” says More, who has earned graduate degrees from GMU, Ohio University, and the University at Buffalo. “If you have Orange in your blood, you’re never far from home.

Contact Information

Laura Bulman