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Walt Whitman Rostow, former Special Assistant for National Security Affairs in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, has passed away. Dr. Rostow was 86.

Dr. Rostow was born October 7, 1916 in New York City. He received a B. A. degree from Yale University in 1936; Ph.D. from Yale in 1940; attended Balliol College, Oxford, England, 1936-1938, as a Rhodes Scholar. His career as an educator began in 1940 when he became an instructor of economics at Columbia University.

During the Second World War (1942-45), he served as a Major in the OSS. After the war, Dr. Rostow joined the State Department as Assistant Chief of the German-Austrian Economic Division. He later returned to teaching as the Harmsworth Professor of American History, Oxford University, England, 1946-47. In 1947, he became the Assistant to the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe. He returned to England in 1949 to spend a year at Cambridge University as the Pitt Professor of American History.

From 1950-1961, Dr. Rostow was Professor of Economic History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from 1951-1961 he was also a staff member of the Center for International Studies, M.I.T.

In January 1961, President Kennedy appointed Dr. Rostow as Deputy Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. He served in that capacity until December 1961 when he was appointed counselor of the Department of State and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council, Department of State. In May 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the additional duty of United States Member of the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress (CIAP) (with the rank of Ambassador). He served in these latter two capacities until early 1966, when President Johnson called him back to the White House as his special Assistant for National Security Affairs, where he remained until January 20, 1969.

In February 1969 Dr. Rostow returned to teaching, at The University of Texas at Austin, as Professor of Economics and History. Mr. Rostow was the Rex G. Baker, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Political Economy.

Dr. Rostow and his wife Elspeth, along with other community members, founded The Austin Project in 1992. He served as Chairman of the Board and Task Force Director, 1992-98; and at the time of his death held the positions of Immediate Past President and Board Member.

Dr. Rostow received the Order of the British Empire (honorary, military division, 1945), the Legion of Merit (1945), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (with distinction, 1969). He was a member of the Board of Foreign Scholarships, January 1969 to December 1971. He is also a member of the Elizabethan Club, New Haven; Massachusetts Historical Society; Cosmos Club; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Philosophical Society; The Austin Council on Foreign Affairs, and The Philosophical Society of Texas.

Dr. Rostow was the author of over 30 books the latest of which are: Theorists of Economic Growth from David Hume to the Present, With a Perspective on the Next Century (1990), the third edition of The Stages of Economic Growth (1990), and The Great Population Spike and After: Reflections on the 21st Century (1998). Mr. Rostow's latest book, Concept and Controversy: Sixty Years of Taking Ideas to Market, will be published in June 2003.

Until his death, he remained active, teaching undergraduates in the fall semesters, and a graduate seminar in the spring. He had spoken at conferences recently about the population problem and continued to publish articles and editorials.

Walt Rostow in Oval Office, White House,  8/08/1967. LBJ Library Photo Archives


Walt Rostow with President Johnson outside White House, 2/28/1967. LBJ Library Photo Archives


Walt Rostow with President Johnson in Guam, 3/20/1967. LBJ Library Photo Archives


Walt Rostow in Cabinet Room, White House,  6/17/1966. LBJ Library Photo Archives