Humphrey: A man’s legacy

by Lindsay Guentzel

In 1929, the stock market crashed, the Great Depression began and former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey became a student at the University.

Nearly 30 years after Humphrey’s death, his political legacy lives on through the University’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Founded in 1978, the institute is recognized as one of the top 15 professional schools of public affairs in the country.

The institute’s nonprofit management program is ranked No. 5 nationally.

Past visitors to the institute have included former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Because of its two-year graduate programs, Graham Lampa, the technology chairman for the Public Affairs Student Association, said the institute offers a close-knit community for students attending the school.

“Those of us who were first-years last year, now all of sudden we’re the old folks that know everything,” Lampa said. “We just try to do our best to pass down knowledge about the institution and stuff to the incoming class.”

Renee Maas, the president of the Public Affairs Student Association, said this year’s first- year class is excited to be involved.

“We are really trying to improve the community,” she said. “I think the faculty and staff have really stepped up.”

Maas, who is from California, said the University offered her more benefits as a student.

“It seems like you can get to know your professors more,” she said. “The services that are available at the University, I think, are more readily available than other universities.”

She said she likes that she can take classes in other schools and departments while attending the institute.

Lampa said daily interaction with faculty and classmates is the institute’s strongest quality.

“The institute is an environment that brings people together to discuss the most important issues of our day,” he said. “There is always this dynamic atmosphere.”

While working in Washington, D.C. this summer, Lampa said he heard people say a lot of great things about the institute.

“It is nice to know that you go to a place that has such a reputation and an influence not just within our university but around the country as well,” Lampa said.

He said, however, that it can be intimidating learning from the institute’s experienced faculty.

“We’re being taught by people who have already gone ahead and made that difference,” he said.

Lampa is taking a class instructed by Steve Andreasen, former director for defense policy and arms control for the National Security Council.

“He brings this incredible experience to the classroom,” Lampa said. “Half of the class period is run like it is a National Security Council staff meeting.”

Maas said one of the institute’s biggest contributions is the students who graduate and work in the community.

“I think we create well-informed students who can go out into the world and apply their education to their jobs and to real life experience in a positive way,” she said.

Maas said she hadn’t heard of Humphrey before she came to the University.

Maas said she visited the Humphrey Forum, a museum located in the Humphrey Center dedicated to Hubert H. Humphrey’s life and political career, in order to learn more about the former vice president’s past.

“Leadership for the common good,” she said, “that is what you are going to hear most around the Humphrey.”

Justin Henry, a political science and sociology junior, said Humphrey’s campus presence is important because he was an influential person in American history.

“He is a very interesting figure to learn more about,” Henry said. “He talked about racial discrimination way before the really noticeable Civil Rights movement.”

Henry, who attended an event hosted by the institute last spring, said he hopes more students benefit from the institute’s offerings.

“They put on a lot of events that really allow students to go meet influential people,” Henry said. “It would be really great for more students to attend these events and to see what this institute brings to the campus.”