The policy studies major offers a multidisciplinary course of study enabling graduates to provide leadership in a dynamic domestic and global environment.

Letter from the Chair (20 May 2024)

In August 2024, the Policy Studies program will relocate to the first floor of the newly renovated William E. Simon Center for Economics and Business. The building’s namesake, William E. Simon, stands as one of Lafayette’s most distinguished alumni for profoundly shaping the modern world.

Mr. Simon’s achievements span the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, with a legendary and extensive legacy. His contributions are highlighted in an eight-minute video essay available on PBS39’s website.

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of one of his most remarkable accomplishments, the Trade Act of 1974. This landmark legislation laid the foundation for half a century of international trade and prosperity, often referred to today as the rules-based global order.

At the time of its passage, Mr. Simon served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. (He would be confirmed as Treasury Secretary later in 1974.) His pivotal role in the act’s passage is even more remarkable considering the challenging context: he represented a Republican president while both the Senate and House were controlled by solid Democrat majorities. Additionally, this achievement occurred amidst the turmoil of the Watergate scandal, military conflicts in the Middle East, and an oil embargo that triggered a significant energy crisis.

Mr. Simon’s success in expanding global trade was anchored in a simple yet profound principle: freedom. Economic freedom and political freedom are pathways to peace and prosperity. While the years since 1974 have not been without conflict, we’ve seen substantial progress relative to other similar spans in history. Notably, since the 1970s, approximately 800 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty in China alone. The Trade Act of 1974 launched a process that created enormous value for Americans and for people far beyond our borders.

Policy Studies’ new home in the heart of the William E. Simon Center for Economics and Business inspires us to reflect deeply on the concepts of economic and political freedom and their relevance for solving the world’s wicked problems ahead.

Prof. Mark Crain


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Contact Information

Program Chair

Prof. Mark Crain
114 Pardee Hall

Administrative Coordinator

Sarah Ye
116 Pardee Hall