History in the Making: Gov. Leavitt Leads New Project at SUU

Published: February 27, 2009 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Between last fall’s historical election and the recent arrival of Governor Michael O. Leavitt on campus this spring, students at Southern Utah University have politics on the brain, and SUU’s Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics in Society is capitalizing on this momentum by expanding its programming, opening new projects to the campus community. 

During his public open house to welcome the former governor and his family back to Cedar City, Michael Leavitt discussed a partnership with SUU that includes, among other things, exciting news that Governor Leavitt, his Chief of Staff Rich McKeown, and his Administrative Assistant Denise Schwarz have all taken up academic residence at the University. 

In addition to writing and organizing the Governor’s public papers housed at SUU, the Governor and his staff have initiated Project Prologue, the goal of which is to capture lessons of the past to help influence and improve decisions being made for future. 

Project Prologue consists of gathering and creating a digital repository of primary source accounts, recollections, and lessons learned from former state officials, lawmakers, stakeholders and interested commentators. Leavitt hopes the project will result in a distillation of transferable principles of governance that can be useful to any decision maker. 
Leavitt and his staff, with the help of SUU’s Leavitt Center, have already enlisted over 70 fellows and 200 participants to help create the primary source record. 

SUU’s Leavitt Center is striving to become a hub for political thought, discussion and activity in the region. Governor Leavitt’s academic residence at the University and the volunteer and internship opportunities accompanying Project Prologue should help the Center’s Executive Director Doug Larson in this goal. 

Of the Center’s mission, Larson said, “We are committed to training students to navigate the political waters that lay ahead of them. At the Leavitt Center, we believe that Politics is an integral part of all areas of society, and we’re working to develop programs and host events that help individuals recognize, manage and influence the political forces that shape our society at every level. If the Leavitt Center succeeds in its mission, SUU students will gain valuable skills that will allow them to collectively become a great force for good in this world.” 

Regarding the outlook for the Leavitt Center, SUU President Michael Benson stated, “With the Secretary returning home and joining us at SUU for some time, and with the addition of Doug Larson to our capable University staff, we are positioned to generate enormous momentum and support for the Leavitt Center and anticipate achieving some significant advances forward. It promises to be a very exciting time for both the University and the Leavitt Center.”

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