Dean's Distinguished Leaders Series Brings High-Level Visitors to LBJ School | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D–MD), Texas State Senator Kirk Watson (D–Austin) and Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins visited the LBJ School of Public Affairs as featured speakers in the Dean’s Distinguished Leaders Series. Angela Evans, dean of the LBJ School, created the speaker series to expose students to the experiences of high-level visitors in politics, policy and other related fields.

U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD)

On Friday, Sept. 22, Rep. Hoyer spent more than an hour with students engaged in an intimate question-and-answer session, in which he talked about the inner workings of Congress, his role as Democratic Whip and his career in politics.

“I don’t know a time when your faith and energy were needed more [in public service].” —Rep. Steny Hoyer

Rep. Hoyer is the second-ranking member of the U.S. House Democratic Leadership, serving his nineteenth term in Congress. He is charged with mobilizing the party vote on important legislation, shaping priorities and delivering the Democratic message. Rep. Hoyer previously served as House Majority Leader from 2007–2011 and as House Democratic Whip from 2003–2007. Rep. Hoyer won a seat in the Maryland Senate at the age of 27 and, just a few years later, at the age of 35, was elected President of the Senate—the youngest ever in state history.

TX State Senator Kirk Watson (D–Austin)

On Monday, Sept. 25, Senator Kirk Watson shared his time with students to impart 10 life lessons that have helped him throughout his career. 

“We need to figure out new ways to hear one another.” —Senator Kirk Watson

Former two-term Mayor of Austin, Senator Watson was elected to Texas Senate (District 14) in 2006, where he has been a prominent voice on transportation, environment, clean energy, higher education issues, fiscal transparency and increasing health coverage for Texans.

The Honorable Bonnie Jenkins

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, former ambassador Bonnie Jenkins shared her talk, “21st Century Challenges to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Nonproliferation Regimes.”

Jenkins currently serves as a Joint Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the University of Pennsylvania Perry World House. An ambassador at the U.S. State Department throughout the Obama administration, Jenkins served in a number of capacities, including Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Chair of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction in 2012 and the State Department lead on the Nuclear Security Summit.

U.S. House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (SC) 

On Friday, Oct. 20, Representative James Clyburn (D–SC) shared with students his thoughts about public service, civic engagement and the fight against poverty. 

On preparing for a career in politics, Rep. Clyburn told students, "Study the science of it, but get involved to learn the art." 

Rep. Clyburn is the third-ranking member of the U.S. House Democratic Leadership, serving as Assistant Minority Leader since 2011. He came to Congress in 1993, becoming South Carolina’s first African American to serve in Congress since 1897. Rep. Clyburn’s commitment to social justice and the bridging of racial and ethnic divides is longstanding and led the LBJ Foundation to name him the recipient of the 2015 LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award.