Secretary of State
Grayson Named Director of Harvard University’s Prestigious Institute of Politics
(Cambridge, MA) – Secretary of State Trey Grayson has been named today as the Director of the prestigious and internationally renowned Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard University. Grayson will assume his post on January 31, 2011 and will resign his position as Secretary of State shortly before that date.
“Trey Grayson is a very accomplished and distinguished public servant with an impressive track record in elective office,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where the Institute is located. “His knowledge and experience on the state and national levels will provide the Institute with fresh and vigorous leadership at a time when many young people are becoming engaged with politics for the first time.”
Grayson earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1994, serving as the vice chair of the IOP Student Advisory Committee and is now a member of the IOP’s Senior Advisory Committee.
The Institute of Politics was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy. Its mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. The IOP strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.
As Director, Grayson will be charged with setting the strategic vision and budgetary priorities for the long-term direction and affairs of the Institute. He will also oversee the myriad activities of the Institute, which include: a resident fellows program for individuals from active political life; student programs such as internships in public service, research awards and special projects; educational seminars for elected officials; conferences designed to bring together academic, political and governmental leaders; and a year-long series of lectures in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.
“I am excited and humbled to be selected as Director. The IOP played a pivotal role in developing my interest and approach to politics and public service. I look forward to working with the staff, students and my Kennedy School colleagues to inspire a new generation of undergraduates to pursue public service like I did. Given the current state of politics, the IOP’s unique and unparalleled mission is needed now more than ever,” remarked Grayson. “Leaving Kentucky is not a decision that I made lightly. However, this is a truly extraordinary and irresistible opportunity that will allow me to encourage a passion for politics in our undergraduates, while still spending significant time with my family, something that I have placed as a high priority in my life.”
Grayson will succeed former U.S. Senator John C. Culver (D-IA), who has served as interim director since July 2010.
Grayson met with Governor Steve Beshear on January 6, 2011 to notify him of his decision. Governor Beshear will have the opportunity to appoint a replacement for Grayson to fill the remaining eleven months of his final term.
“I cannot thank the citizens of Kentucky enough for the opportunity to serve them. During my tenure, we have accomplished nearly every goal we set forth, and I am confident that the Office of the Secretary of State is more efficient and is a better resource for Kentuckians than ever before,” Grayson said.
The IOP regularly hosts top political and government leaders from across the globe. In the last semester alone, the IOP hosted former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as visiting fellows. Other speakers at the IOP’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum last fall included Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Rhee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Admiral Michael Mullen, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Pakistan, the President of Austria, and the former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Resident fellows who spent the fall semester on campus leading non-credit study groups included a former Mayor of Detroit, a former Prime Minister of Haiti, a former national political reporter for the Boston Globe and a former Secretary of Education.
The IOP also hosts regular conferences to train newly elected mayors and newly elected members of Congress. Every four years, it hosts a conference in which the managers of all major presidential campaigns provide a behind-the-scenes account of the campaigns. In 2003, the IOP launched the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, working collaboratively with other schools and organizations across the country to engage young people. The IOP also conducts regular surveys of the political views of America’s young voters.
“Trey Grayson is exactly the right person to lead the IOP as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of my father’s Presidency,” said Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation President and IOP Senior Advisory Committee Interim Chair. “He is an inspirational young leader committed to civic engagement, bipartisan cooperation and civil debate. I look forward to working with him to inspire the next generation to answer President Kennedy’s call to service.”
“The IOP has been an overwhelming success in its mission to expose students to the world of politics as a supplement to their academic experience, and to inspire them to public service,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “I am confident that Trey Grayson will continue to strengthen the IOP as a locus of engagement for undergraduates and a path-breaking model for the University.”
Grayson was first elected as Kentucky’s Secretary of State in 2003 and then re-elected by a wide margin in 2007. During his time in office, Grayson established nationally acclaimed programs in elections, civic education, business services, and government innovation. Among other successes, Grayson enhanced Kentucky’s election laws through the passage of several legislative packages; led a multi-agency effort to improve civics education in the classroom; reduced office operating expenses by 15 percent; and developed an award-winning website with dozens of new online election and business services. He is past president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, where he co-chaired the presidential primaries sub-committee for several years and became nationally recognized as an expert on presidential primary reform.
The IOP Director Search Committee, appointed by Dean Ellwood, was chaired by Caroline Kennedy and included Mary Jo Bane, academic dean of the Harvard Kennedy School; Sarah A. Bianchi, Investment Advisor, Eton Park Capital Management, former National Policy Director for the John Kerry Presidential Campaign, and IOP Senior Advisory Committee member; Elaine L. Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and IOP Senior Advisory Committee member; Kenneth M. Duberstein, chairman and CEO, The Duberstein Group, Inc., former chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan, and IOP Senior Advisory Committee member; Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at Harvard Kennedy School; Anthony A. Williams, William H. Bloomberg Lecturer in Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School and former Mayor of the District of Columbia; and Maggie A. Williams, Partner, Griffin Williams LLC and IOP Senior Advisory Committee member.
For more information on the IOP, visit: www.iop.harvard.edu.