Campus & Community

Former Congressman Leach named director of Institute of Politics

3 min read

David T. Ellwood, dean of the Kennedy School of Government, recently announced that former U.S. Congressman James A. Leach (R-IA) has been named the new director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP). Leach will serve for this academic year, beginning immediately and succeeding outgoing director Jeanne Shaheen.

Leach has agreed to take a leave from Princeton University, where he is the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. Prior to his arrival at Princeton, Leach served 15 terms in Congress as a Republican representative from eastern Iowa. During his congressional career he served as chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and was author or co-author of several significant pieces of legislation, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which worked to reform the financial-services industry. He was educated at Princeton and Johns Hopkins universities, and the London School of Economics.

“Jim Leach developed the reputation in Washington as a hard-working, fair, and respected lawmaker who championed a range of worthy causes from international debt relief to environmental protection to political-campaign reform,” said Ellwood. “The Kennedy School is proud to welcome him as the new director of the Institute of Politics.”

Former Sen. John Culver (D-IA), chairman of the IOP Senior Advisory Committee, said, “Congressman Leach served the people of Iowa with great distinction for 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and will rank as one of the outstanding public servants in the history of our state. He will serve as an excellent role model to inspire students to enter politics or seek a career in public service, which is at the heart of the IOP’s mission.”

“I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities awaiting me at Harvard,” Leach said. “The Institute of Politics is an engaging and dynamic place, and I am eager to begin working closely with students and staff, faculty and fellows to energize young people to embrace the challenges and opportunities of politics and public service.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), a member of the IOP Senior Advisory Committee, spoke highly of Leach. “It’s good news for the Institute of Politics that Jim Leach has agreed to serve as director for the coming year. I had the honor of serving with Jim in Congress for many years, and I have great respect for his leadership, ability, and commitment to public service. I look forward very much to working with him at the institute.”

Shaheen, who served as IOP director since July 2005, will be leaving the Kennedy School as she launches her campaign for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. Shaheen is a former three-term governor of New Hampshire. The Kennedy School will also launch a search for a new permanent IOP director.