Andrew Steigman, a professor and associate dean in the School of Foreign Service for over twenty years, died Sept. 7 after a stroke in August. Steigman was born in 1933.
Before coming to Georgetown University as a professor in the practice of diplomacy in 1985, Steigman spent 27 years as a foreign service officer. Steigman served several posts in Africa, including as U.S. ambassador to Gabon and to Sao Tome and Principe between 1975 and 1977.
Steigman is from Mountain View, Calif., and attended Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious undergraduate honor society, in 1954. After graduation, Steigman was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics, where he studied international relations.
Steigman first became interested in political affairs in Africa while studying in London, he said in a 1998 interview with the Library of Congress for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Program. Princeton had no courses on Africa at the time, he said, so he began studying the continent to fill his knowledge gaps. Steigman said that the experience drew him toward working in the region.
“I came into the Foreign Service with an eye on Africa clearly,” Steigman said in the interview. “I already had the interest in Africa.”
Steigman entered the Foreign Service in April 1958 and served foreign postings, in addition to his ambassadorships, in the Republic of Congo, Libya, France and Nigeria over the course of his career. His wife, Meryl Steigman, who died in 2017, joined him at these posts.
Andrew and Meryl Steigman were married in 1959, and had two children, according to Volume 60 of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. Meryl also worked on international affairs, working with the State Department to write and edit reports on issues affecting women in the foreign service, according to the Bulgarian-American Society, which she worked with.
Upon retiring from the Foreign Service in 1985, Steigman joined the SFS. He said in the Library of Congress interview that this career move was one of his best decisions.
“And then what turned out to be perhaps in some ways one of the most useful things I ever did, I came over to Georgetown as diplomat-in-residence and found a new home,” Steigman said.
With his extensive experience in the Foreign Service, Steigman took on a role as a counselor to mentor those interested in similar work. For 25 years, Steigman oversaw the Friends of the School of Foreign Service, a networking opportunity for SFS undergraduates to meet with professionals in their fields of interest.
“Steigman had an amazing impact on hundreds of students in the School of Foreign Service,” the SFS wrote in a news release. “He served as a committed administrator and enthusiastic academic adviser.”
As an associate dean in the SFS, Steigman served as an academic adviser, mentoring students on their career paths and in completing applications for scholarships, such as the Fulbright and Carnegie and Mellon fellowships, according to the SFS news release.
Steigman also stayed involved with the Washington, D.C., chapter of Phi Beta Kappa throughout his life, serving as president from 2008 to 2010 and as interim president from 2012 to 2013, according to the D.C. Area Phi Beta Kappa Association. Steigman also was chapter secretary for Georgetown University’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and made a point to ensure SFS graduates were represented after they graduated, according to the SFS news release.
Steigman is survived by his daughter, Daria Steigman, who lives in D.C., his son, Jonathan Steigman, who lives in Mountain View and his grandson, Daniel Steigman, according to an obituary published in The Washington Post.