June 4, 2003 — Ted Wilson, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics in the College of Social and Behavioral Science at the University of Utah since 1985, has announced his retirement from that position, effective September 1, 2003.
When asked about his future plans, Wilson, who formerly served as mayor of Salt Lake City, responded, “I leave with mixed emotions. There are some opportunities out there. My plan is to do some political consulting. I truly hate to leave the Hinckley Institute of Politics, though. I love my job, the University and my time with students and politicians. It is the best job anywhere. But, as I have held the position for 18 years, it is time to move on and turn the reins over to someone else.”
Social and Behavioral Science College Dean Steven Ott said, “We will miss Ted Wilson enormously. He has been a wonderfully engaging spokesperson and representative for the U with students, the media, the public and public officials of both parties. He has transformed the Hinckley Institute of Politics into one of the liveliest, most interesting and active centers of student and public engagement on this campus. Ted’s influence will be missed in ways we can’t even imagine.”
Although the mission of the Hinckley Institute will not change, the University is using Wilson’s pending retirement and the upcoming change in leadership as an opportunity, over the next several years, to greatly expand teaching, research and public service programs in applied politics, campaign management, political polling, advocacy and public policy analysis. This fall, the University will initiate a national search for a highly experienced scholar with practical experience who will, as director of the Institute, provide vision, focus and energy for these developing programs.
James Hinckley, grandson of Institute founder Robert H. Hinckley and chair of the Hinckley Institute Governing Board, exclaimed: “All of this is very exciting. We are very pleased that the Hinckley Institute is centrally involved in these new initiatives. They should help take the University of Utah to a new level of excellence and prominence. The Institute will continue to do the best possible job of involving students in politics and public service-with passion.”
Political Science Professor Ronald Hrebenar, an internationally known scholar in the areas of election campaigns, interest group politics and lobbying, will serve as interim director of the Hinckley Institute. Hrebenar, chair of the Political Science Department for the past three years, will lead the University’s development of new programs in applied politics and campaign management. The part-time interim associate directors will be Dan Jones, Ph.D., and Kirk L. Jowers, J.D. Jones is a well-known political pollster and award-winning adjunct professor of political science at the University. Jowers is a political law attorney, co-founder of a nationally-recognized public interest organization and adjunct professor of political science at the University. The interim directorships will become effective Aug. 1.
The Hinckley Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting respect for practical politics and politicians and to the principle of citizen involvement in government. Each year, through the Institute, 200 students participate in political internships locally and in Washington, D.C. The Institute also brings local, state and national politicians and officials to the University of Utah to participate in discussions, seminars and debates. Secondary school teachers are exposed to politics and politicians through the Huntsman Seminar in Constitutional Government. The Institute offers a variety of scholarships to students interested in careers in politics and public service.
The Hinckley Institute of Politics was established in 1965 through the bequest of the Noble Foundation and Robert H. Hinckley, a long-time regent of the University of Utah who served as a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce and also directed several U.S. government programs in Washington, D.C., from 1938 to 1946 and again in 1948.
Ronald Hrebenar, professor of political science, has been on the University of Utah’s political science faculty since 1973. He received his B.A. degree in government from Southern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington-Seattle. Hrebenar is known internationally as an expert on interest group politics and lobbying as well as political parties and election campaigns. He is the author or editor of eight books and author or co-author of more than 40 articles and chapters on state politics, political parties and interest groups. Last year, Hrebenar and a colleague traveled to Lithuania by invitation from the U.S. State Department to assist the Lithuanians in building their system of interest groups and lobbying. From 1982 until 1983, Hrebenar was a Fulbright Professor at Tohoku University in Japan and has taught at a variety of Japanese universities. Hrebenar was a naval reserve officer on active duty during the Viet Nam war and retired as a captain in the Naval Reserve in 1994.
Dan Jones, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Dan Jones & Associates, a political and public opinion polling firm based in Salt Lake City. His firm has conducted political surveys and consulted with almost every candidate for major public office in Utah. Jones has a B.A. degree from Idaho State College and M.S. and Ph.D. political science degrees from the University of Utah. He was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Bureau of Government and Opinion Research at Utah State University and, for the past 20 years, has been a professor/lecturer at the University of Utah. Jones was named “Students Choice for Professor of the Year” in 1998 and “Adjunct Professor of the Year” in 2000 at the University of Utah. At the University, he serves on the College of Social and Behavioral Science Advisory Board, the “Who’s Who” Selection Committee and as co-director of the Huntsman Institute at the Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Kirk Jowers, J.D., is director of academic affairs and Deputy General Counsel for the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. and a member of the D.C. law firm Caplin & Drysdale, practicing in the area of political activity. Recently Jowers has worked exclusively in the campaign finance, election law and government ethics arena. He has served as the Deputy General Counsel for the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce and as general counsel of the Washington, D.C. Republican Party. He provided legal counsel to George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign on Electoral College issues and to Broward County, Florida, during the 2000 election recount controversy. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah, the author of several publications and is the assistant editor of the Brookings Institution’s Campaign Finance Web site. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Utah in political science and cum laude from Harvard Law School.