Former Congressman Leach appointed to UI law faculty

Former Congressman Leach appointed to UI law faculty

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Former U.S. Congressman Jim Leach has been appointed a visiting professor of law and the University of Iowa Chair in Public Affairs, UI President Sally Mason announced at the Board of Regents meeting Wednesday.

Former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach. Photo courtesy of U.S. Office of Humanities

Starting in August, Leach, who stepped down as chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) in May, will work with the UI Center for Human Rights, advise law students and help secure field placements in Washington D.C., give campus lectures on subjects such as foreign policy and teach undergraduate and graduate law courses on American government and the legislative process.

Mason said his appointment as the UI Chair of Public Affairs is meant to honor Leach’s distinguished career in public service. The appointment is for a three-year, renewable term.

“I can think of no one better than Jim Leach to hold this chair for the coming three years,” Mason said Wednesday. “We’re thrilled.

Gail B. Agrawal, dean of the UI College of Law, echoed those sentiments.

“Congressman Leach has a distinguished record of public service with expertise across a broad spectrum of endeavors, including international relations, finance, and the humanities,” she says. “We are delighted to welcome him to the College of Law.”

Leach has visited campus a number of times since leaving Congress to talk on a range of issues. In October, he spoke here about the importance of the humanities and the role of the humanities in a democratic society as part of the annual meeting of the Central Division of the Community College Humanities Association.

President Barack Obama appointed Leach NEH chair in August 2009. Under his leadership, the agency created a Bridging Cultures program designed to promote understanding and mutual respect for diverse groups within the United States and abroad. As part of this effort, NEH supported programs designed to expand citizen understanding of American history and values, the civil rights movement, and foreign cultures.

In addition, the agency helped launch a National Digital Public Library to establish a unified gateway to digital collections of books, artworks, and artifacts from libraries, museums, and other cultural sites across the country. Leach presided over the culmination of decades-long projects such as the publication of the Autobiography of Mark Twainand theDictionary of American Regional English.

Prior to the NEH appointment, Leach served as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 2007, representing Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. He went on to serve as the interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University.


Stephen Pradarelli, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0007


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