History, Legacy & Awards
The Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs was founded in 1977 at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The school chose its name in honor and recognition of U.S. Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a legislator and statesman recognized internationally for his contributions to improving the well-being of humanity.
The Humphrey Institute grew out of the University of Minnesota’s former School of Public Affairs (1968–77) and Public Administration Center (1936–68). It was renamed the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2011 to better reflect its academic mission. Like its predecessors, the Humphrey School continues to instill in our brightest leaders an understanding of leadership and public service in advancing the common good.
A Living Memorial
Before his death, Humphrey made sure that the institution that would carry his name would be more than a college. He wanted a living memorial, one that would not only prepare future leaders, but also one that would be a forum for active debate on the policy issues of the day, and an academy that would produce the best research and non-partisan advocacy based on that research.
A Legacy of Outstanding Leaders
Professor John Adams led the transition of the School of Public Affairs to the Humphrey Institute graduate school from 1976 to 1979. Harlan Cleveland, an internationally known political figure and former Assistant Secretary of State, was named the Institute’s founding dean in 1980. Under Cleveland’s leadership, the college moved into its current home at the Humphrey Center in 1986. The building was designed to enhance the research and outreach mission of the college and to present a welcoming gateway to the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. Its earth-covered roof surfaces and skylights—reinforced the Institute’s historic interest in environmental policy and climate change mitigation.
Regents Professor G. Edward Schuh later served as dean from 1987–1997, followed by Professor John Brandl from 1997–2002, and J. Brian Atwood from 2002–2011. In 2010, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved changing the name of the Humphrey Institute to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to better reflect the institution's academic mission. Eric P. Schwartz assume the role of dean in October 2011.