Chau Thien Phan
Biographical Sketch (revised August 12, 2017)

Dr. Chau Thien Phan was Professor of Political Science at Rider University, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where he taught from September 1968 to May 2003. He was Chairman of the Rider Political Science Department from 1973 to 1982, and was a lay minister for Rider Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM). He continued to serve as the web minister of Rider CCM until 2010.

He came to the United States from Vietnam in 1958 as a student thanks to a scholarship from Marian College, run by the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, Indiana. He received the B.A. in Economics and Sociology from Marian College, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1961; the Master's degree in International Economics and Politics from the Jesuit-run University of Detroit in 1963.  He did his doctoral studies as a Social Science Foundation fellowship recipient under the direction of Dr. Josef Korbel, father of President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Dr. Madeleine Korbel Albright, and mentor of President George W. Bush's National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He received the Ph.D. degree in 1965 from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies of the University of Denver. 

Dr. Phan joined the faculty of the Political Science Department of Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, in 1968, where he was also Director of the Model United Nations program from 1973 until his retirement in 2003. He was chairperson of the department from 1974 to 1982. His areas of specialty included International Relations and World Politics, Nationalism, American Foreign Policy, the United Nations, global issues such as human rights, global issues including the global economy, population, the environment, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, etc. Among other publications, he edited Annual Editions World Politics 80/81, 81/82, 82/83 for the Dushkin Publishing Group, a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill.

As department acting chairman, then as department chairman, he was tasked with revamping the political science curriculum and hire faculty. Among those he hired during his tenure as chairman were Dr. Phyllis Frakt, who became Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Science, and later Academic Vice-President and Provost; Dr. Harvey Kornberg who succeeded him as department chairman; Dr. David Rebovich, who later became Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Science and founder and director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics; Dr. Frank Rusciano who succeded Dr. Kornberg and department chairman; Dr. Jonathan Mendilow; and a number of faculty members who have accepted positions elsewhere.

As Faculty Adviser to the Rider Model United Nations from 1973 to 2003, he considers his active promoting of women students, especially of minority women students, in positions of team leadership as his most enduring legacy of his time at Rider. Although not very popular among students generally because of his rigorous standards, he has been blessed with respect and maybe even affection by students enrolled in his National Model United Nations Teams. Below is an example in April 20, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel after the announcement of awards.


In terms of avocation, Chau Phan is an independent website designer for non-profit organizations in which he believes. All his works are pro bono. He created and remained webmaster for, among other, Rider Model United Nations Alumni Association, Rider University's Catholic Campus Ministry (1988-2010), Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church in Flagler Beach, Florida (from 2003 to 2012), where he is a parishioner.

In his retirement years, he has been instrumental in bringing about more open and friendly relations between Roman Catholics and other Christian Churches, and is widely recognized in Northeast Florida as an ecumenical bridge-builder. He is the liaison person of Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church of Flagler Beach with St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Church of Palm Coast, and the First (AME) Church of Palm Coast among other churches.

Chau founded the Christian Unity ministry at Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church, Flagler Beach in 2007, and serves as its leader until 2015. This ministry brings together choirs of churches in Flagler County, Florida each January during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and other joint activities throughout the year. See

In 2003, Bishop Felipe Estevez of the Diocese of St. Augustine appointed him as an Associate Diocesan Ecumenical Officer to organize annual Vespers at the bishop level in Northeast Florida also during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starting in 2014. See and his ecumenical teaching website at

Note that in this picture, Chau Phan was the only lay person among clergy dignitaries.

Chau considers his work in fostering inter-Christian relations is his other enduring legacy which will stay on after he is gone.

Chau Phan was married to Teresa Phuong-Mai Nguyen at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, DC, in April 1967, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April 2017. Teresa was an Administrative Analyst (Accounting) for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. They have two grown sons, Francis A. Phan who works in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, CA and Thomas T. Phan, living and working in Boston, Mass.

Chau and his wife Teresa live in Grand Haven, City of Palm Coast, Florida. She has served as AARP Tax-Aide volunteer each tax season since 2005, and has been providing music for Eucharistic services at the Grand Oaks Rehabilitation and Nursing Home since 2007.

Palm Coast is 90 minutes from Jacksonville to the north, Orlando to the west, the Space Coast on the east, and 40 minutes north of Daytona Beach and south of St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city. Our house is ten minutes from exit 289 on I-95. Therefore, if you plan to go to Orlando using I-95 and I-4, please e-mail me before stopping by for a visit. I am always happy to see former students.

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