Bernhardt Denmark Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Politics

Dean Thomas Carew of the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science has announced the appointment of Professor George Downs as the first incumbent of the Bernhardt Denmark Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Politics.

Professor Downs, a prominent scholar of international institutions, human rights and international law, has been a member of the Department of Politics faculty since 1988, and served as Dean of Social Science from 2001 through 2009. Immediately prior to joining NYU’s faculty, Professor Downs served as the Boswell Professor of War and Peace at Princeton University and directed the doctoral program at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. In making this announcement, Dean Carew stated, “Through this appointment, we are delighted to honor Professor Downs’ work and long career in international relations and human rights, and we are equally grateful to Joel Smilow for recognizing the excellence of our Department of Politics and establishing this prestigious chair.”

The Bernhardt Denmark Professorship of International Affairs was established by NYU Trustee Joel E. Smilow in honor of Mr. Denmark who, in 1969, recruited Mr. Smilow to be his successor as President of International Latex, Inc. (predecessor of Playtex Products, Inc.), the beginning of a close friendship that continues to this day. Mr. Denmark graduated from NYU in 1941, served in the U.S. Army, and then joined International Latex in 1949. He became the company’s president in 1965, and under his leadership the company greatly expanded its product base and global reach. Mr. Denmark and his wife, Muriel, have two children, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Mr. Smilow retired from Playtex Products, Inc. in 1995 but has remained very active in the business and, more importantly, in the philanthropic world, including NYU and the NYU Langone Medical Center. He was the lead/naming donor for the NYU – Langone Research Center facility on FDR Drive.