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Friday, June 21, 2024

UW-Madison to open leadership center named after former governor

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Tommy Thompson’s inauguration, state government leaders and UW-Madison officials announced plans Tuesday to open a leadership center on campus named after the former Wisconsin governor.

The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership—which will be funded by both public and private funds—will promote research, leadership training and bring speakers and public events to the UW-Madison campus, according to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

“On our college campuses, we need to hear more than just one side of the debate; we need to ensure every voice is heard,” Vos said in a press release. “This center will promote an even more rigorous debate of the current issues and hopefully, bipartisan solutions.”

The leadership center, Vos said, will be run by a director overseen by a seven-member public leadership board within two departments at UW-Madison: the Department of Political Science and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to consider a proposal for the leadership center that would allocate $3 million in state funds to the center over the next two years, as well as set aside $500,000 to sponsor speakers across UW System campuses, according to the release.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the center will embody three principles former Gov. Thompson possessed: a belief in the value of objective, non-partisan professional research to inform public policy, a belief that public universities and in particular their faculty have a central role to play in public life and a belief in the Wisconsin Idea—that the university has a duty to ensure that discoveries and knowledge from campus are used to benefit the entire state and beyond.

“We are delighted that UW-Madison has been chosen as the home for the Tommy G. Thompson Center for Public Leadership,” Blank said in a statement. “We expect the center will make significant contributions to public policy and leadership in our state and nation.”

The leadership center is expected to open around the start of the upcoming fall semester.

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