David Axelrod, who has served as director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics since its founding, intends to step down from his role in January 2023 to become a senior fellow at the Institute and chair of its advisory board.
A highly respected political strategist and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Axelrod, AB’76, led the effort to establish the Institute in 2013—returning to his roots at the University and Hyde Park following the 2012 election to inspire the next generation of leaders and help students engage in the work of our democracy.
The Institute has become an integral part of campus life over the last decade. Through its renowned speaker series, the IOP has brought to campus world leaders, scholars and experts from across the political spectrum—including former presidents Obama and Carter, the late Senator John McCain, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada—to engage with the University community in a forum of free and open discourse. It also has supported College students in myriad ways, providing more than 2,500 paid internships and career advice for students hoping to work in politics and public service; engaging students through the quarterly Pritzker Fellows program that includes elected officials, policymakers, organizers, activists and journalists; and offering civic engagement programs like UChiVotes—a student-led, voter engagement initiative on campus—that helps students develop as leaders.