“Responsibility Beyond The Narrow Scope Assigned”: Reflections From The Head Of The Social Sciences Department

James Golden


BG(R) Jim Golden graduated from West Point in 1965. Commissioning into the Field Artillery, he went directly into the Kennedy School at Harvard, where he earned a Masters degree in public administration with a concentration in economics. While in grad school he worked with the Harvard ROTC program and witnessed some of the anti-war sentiment that had started spreading across the nation. After grad school and service as a battery commander at Fort Carson, he deployed to Vietnam as a Brigade Artillery Liaison Officer following the Tet Offensive. After returning from Vietnam, he earned a PhD from Harvard in economics and returned to West Point in 1971 to teach. Dedicating most of the rest of his Army career to education, he eventually became Professor and Head of the Department of Social Sciences. When he retired from the Army, he became a senior executive in the strategy department at the Tenneco corporate headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut. After three years, he left Tenneco and assumed a series of positions of increasing responsibility with the College of William and Mary, including Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. Now fully retired, he has a volunteer position as Senior Counselor to the President at William and Mary and remains active in the Williamsburg community. In this interview, he talks about West Point, his service in Vietnam, his education, the Department of Social Sciences, and his experiences at William and Mary. He discusses the culture of the Sosh Department, and highlights many of the influential leaders he worked with over the years. He describes some of the key events at West Point during his tenure, including the post-Vietnam military, the Class of ’77 cheating scandal, and the introduction of women into the Military Academy. He explains his leadership philosophy, and his views on maintaining academic rigor and high standards. Finally, he shares his thoughts on how today’s leaders at West Point can continue to inspire cadets to a life of service.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Camaraderie West Point History USMA 1965
interviewer COL Suzanne Nielsen
date 24 APR 2018


name James Golden
institution USMA
graduation year 1965
service Field Artillery
unit 2/77 FA, 25th ID RVN
specialty Department Head – Department of Social Sciences
service dates 1965 1996