Bob Strong was an undergraduate at Kenyon College and after earning his BA in 1970 served in the US Navy for four years. Among other things, he was the navigator on a ship that never left port, a communications officer and a staff officer for the service squadron that provided food, ammunition and fuel to the combat ships in the Seventh Fleet. After leaving the Navy he earned a Ph.D. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and taught at Tulane University. At Tulane he won the university award for excellence in academic advising and the student senate teaching award.
In the fall of 1989, he accepted a position as the head of the politics department at Washington and Lee and served in that capacity for fifteen years. After receiving an appointment as the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics, he worked with colleagues to invite prominent authors to campus for lectures and seminars with faculty and students under the auspices of the William Lyne Wilson II Symposium Fund. He co-chaired a major committee that reviewed the first ten years of coeducation and another that recommended reforms for undergraduate general education requirements. After 9/11 he taught a special course on terrorism that included lectures by colleagues in sociology, religion and law, as well as a variety of guests from Washington, DC. Later he taught a course with Chemistry Professor Frank Settle on proliferation and weapons of mass destruction.
In 2008, he became the first Associate Provost of the university and helped to administer two new endowments, created by Rupert H. Johnson, Jr., to support a new lecture series and summer grants that fund student internships and off campus experiences.
Bob's research has been focused on foreign policy decisions made by recent American presidents. He has written three books: one on Henry Kissinger, one on Jimmy Carter and two editions of a collection of case studies that cover the presidential administrations from Truman to George W. Bush. For over thirty years he has worked with scholars at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs conducting oral history interviews with elected and appointed officials who have served in the cabinet and in the White House. He has been a visiting scholar at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth and at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University. In 1988-89 he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and worked in the offices of Congressman Lee Hamilton and Senator Richard Lugar. His commentary on political events has been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the Roanoke Times and the Richmond Times Dispatch.