U welcomes new Hinckley director

In the past 40 years, only three people have served as director of the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

The U officially welcomed the fourth such director, Kirk Jowers, with a reception Thursday night at the Grand America Hotel.

Nearly 500 people, including local politicians and university figures such as U President Michael Young, pollster Dan Jones, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, and all three former Hinckley Institute directors-Ted Wilson, JD Williams and RJ Snow-crammed into a single room Thursday evening to welcome Jowers back to the U, where he earned his undergraduate degree and served as a Hinckley Intern just 13 years ago.

Jowers has since served as a legal and political professional, helping with the Hinckley Institute’s Washington, D.C., interns for several years in his spare time.

Jowers has worn several other hats while living in the nation’s capital, including legal counsel for President Bush’s campaign in 2000 and founder of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C.

Jowers became just the fourth director of the institute in its 40-year history at the U.

He said that the reception held in his honor, which attracted nearly 500 people, was an “amazing testament to the Hinckley Institute.”

“I’ve been told by many that this is the best job in Utah, and I know there are three people in this room who will confirm that,” Jowers said, referring to the former directors in attendance.

He praised the institute and its rich history for having given experience to more than 4,000 former interns, all of whom started their professional careers a step up from the rest because of what the Hinckley Institute is about.

“This was not a one-time gift from the Hinckley family. For 365 days per year they’ve invested themselves in every conceivable way-they’ve invested their heart and soul in this,” Jowers said. “I owe the Hinckley Institute everything.”

The Hinckley Institute and Hinckley family has dedicated more than 40 years to “teaching students that politics is a decent and laudible profession,” Young said.

Young added that, in his time as dean of the George Washington University College of Law, he quickly found that the University of Utah, through its Hinckley Institute, was a great foundation for law students.

“I watched the institute as an outsider with enormous appreciation,” Young said. “I am genuinely delighted to have Kirk back here…he will be building on the shoulders of huge giants with reputations throughout the United States.”

Jim Hinckley, a descendant of the institute’s founder Robert Hinckley, thanked Rob Hrebenar and Dan Jones for their interim direction since Ted Wilson stepped down in 2003.

“This is a very exciting and happy day for the Hinckley Institute and the U,” he said.

Jowers announced that the Hinckley Institute will be renovating the Hinckley Caucus Room, which has played host to numerous guests throughout its 40-year history, including former President Bill Clinton, presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

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