Robertson Hall

Rick Barton and Kit Lunney Retirement Announcement

Feb 08 2023
By Amaney Jamal, Dean
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

Dear SPIA community,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce Frederick (Rick) Barton and Kathryn (Kit) Lunney are retiring from their positions as co-directors of the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI) this summer.

We are deeply grateful for Rick and Kit’s dedication and profound contributions to both SINSI and SPIA while leading the initiative for nearly half its 16 years. Through their productive partnership as husband and wife, they helped to grow and nurture a community where inclusion and mutual support are exemplars for public service here at Princeton and beyond.

SINSI’s success and growth since 2016 directly result from Rick and Kit’s long and distinguished public service and leadership careers. Prior to coming to Princeton, Rick served as the UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees and as U.S. Ambassador to the UN’s Economic and Social Council; he was also the first Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Kit previously served as deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Their deep ties to Washington opened many doors to our SINSI fellows and interns, who have served in more than 40 U.S. government entities. That number continues to grow, as SINSI now partners with nearly every department and agency of the federal government from the White House to the Departments of Justice, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, State, and Health and Human Services; the Federal Trade Commission; USAID; and the Environmental Protection Agency. Many of these entities now ask for a SINSI fellow or intern each year.

Our community on campus also saw a wonderful expansion under Rick and Kit’s leadership. Princeton majors in SINSI now come from SPIA, computer sciences, engineering, environmental studies, economics, history, sociology, languages and more. Many of these graduates plan to spend at least parts of their careers in government and public service, thanks to the direct experience and first-hand insights from their SINSI experience.

Both SINSI and the Ullman Fellowships, which Rick and Kit also ran, serve as a solid foundation for future SPIA programs. By August, a record dozen Princeton sophomores and juniors will complete SINSI summer internships, and five graduate fellows will begin their two-year rotations in the U.S. government.

Despite a long list of achievements, Rick and Kit maintain that their greatest honor is working with our dedicated students, focusing their efforts on encouraging, supporting and preparing them to succeed in the public policy arena. I have no doubt that their influence will continue both on Princeton’s campus and beyond.


Amaney Jamal, Dean