David Axelrod appointed distinguished senior fellow at Chicago Harris

As the University of Chicago Institute of Politics builds upon an eventful first year of discussions and programming, Director David Axelrod has been appointed a distinguished senior fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy.

In addition to his role leading the new non-partisan Institute of Politics, Axelrod will help Chicago Harris students explore policymaking and public service, furthering the school’s mission to produce the next generation of public policy leaders. As part of such efforts for students across the University, the institute recently named its founding board of advisors—a group of leading policymakers and commentators from across the political spectrum. It also hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 8 at its new home, 5707 S. Woodlawn Ave., which serves as a meeting place for students from across campus.

“I am delighted to welcome David Axelrod to the Chicago Harris family,” said Chicago Harris Dean Colm O’Muircheartaigh. “Giving our students access to someone with such a long, distinguished career in public service will add invaluable, real-world political insight to their vigorous policy training.”

In addition to his affiliation with Chicago Harris, Axelrod and other institute leaders work closely with students in the College and across UChicago. Students play central roles in all three facets of the institute’s work: Organizing high-quality discussions on current events and political life such as an April 8 panel on the future of the Republican party; a visiting fellows program that brings political and policy practitioners to campus; and expanded internships in politics policy and public interest advocacy for students at all levels of study.

“The Institute of Politics fills a need on campus, where many of the world’s next generation of leaders are already being educated,” said Kathryn Hagerman, a second-year at Chicago Harris and a member of the institute’s student advisory council. 

“David Axelrod’s appointment as a distinguished senior fellow at Chicago Harris seems like a natural partnership that I hope will strengthen the bonds that have already developed between many Harris students and the Institute of Politics, its fellows and students from across the campus.”

Axelrod’s appointment to Chicago Harris will include lectures, events and more informal interactions with students. The five-year appointment is effective from Jan. 1, 2013.

“A life of public service is an exciting, enriching, impactful path to choose,” said Axelrod. “I hope that through my relationship with Chicago Harris and through the institute’s work with undergraduate students in the College, I can help inspire young people, from across the political spectrum, to choose that path."

In accepting the distinguished senior fellowship, Axelrod adds his expertise to the growing roster of experts at Chicago Harris with extensive public and private sector experience, including former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.

New board of advisors named

The Institute of Politics also has announced its founding board of advisors, which brings together policy leaders of many backgrounds and political affiliations. The board of advisors includes:

  • David Brooks, AB’83, columnist, The New York Times
  • Julián Castro, mayor of San Antonio
  • Stephanie Cutter, former deputy campaign manager, Obama for America
  • Larry Grisolano, partner, AKPD Media
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, biographer, historian and political commentator
  • Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon
  • Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard
  • Isaac Lee, president of news, Univision
  • Mike Murphy, Republican political consultant
  • Beth Myers, former senior advisor to Gov. Mitt Romney
  • Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts
  • David Plouffe, former senior advisor to President Obama
  • Neera Tanden, president, The Center for American Progress
  • Bernard Winograd, president, The Tricoastal Foundation
  • Howard Wolfson, deputy mayor, New York City

“We are honored to have such a distinguished group of thought leaders helping set a course for the Institute of Politics,” said Axelrod. “Their expertise and guidance will be critical to the success of the institute’s mission. They will also be an invaluable resource to our students, who want to make a difference in the political and policy arenas of our cities, states, country and the world.”