WSU Names Institute After Former GOP Chairman

OGDEN, Utah – On April 3, Weber State University will recognize Richard Richards, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, by formally naming the Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct after him.

An event in Richards' honor will be held at 11 a.m. in Shepherd Union Ballroom C and will include remarks by Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. and a keynote address focusing on ethics and political reform by former U.S. Sen. Jake Garn. The event is free and open to everyone.

The naming of the Richard Richards Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct is a tribute to Richards' efforts to educate students about ethical leadership, public service and political reform. Richards has played an influential role in the institute since its inception. "We welcome the impact for our students in terms of speakers, scholarships, internships and research opportunities provided by the Richards Institute," said Nancy Haanstad, chair of the Department of Political Science & Philosophy. "When students exposed to the crucial issues of ethics in politics become active citizens, their wider communities benefit as well."

The institute was established in WSU's Department of Political Science & Philosophy in 2007 to facilitate scholarships, student-faculty fellowships, a public lectures series, and to promote the study of political reform. The goal of the institute is to create greater awareness about political decency, and educate and prepare future generations to make ethical decisions. 

Richards, a Weber State alumnus, has had a distinguished career as a political consultant, campaign manager and attorney. Under President Ronald Reagan, he was chairman of the Republican National Committee; he also has served three terms as Utah's Republican chairman. In 2003, Richards received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from WSU and was encouraged by others to document his political experiences. With the help of his wife, friends and associates, Richards' autobiography, "Climbing the Political Ladder, One Rung at a Time," was published in 2006. 

The Richards Institute was established through a generous lead gift from Richard and Annette Richards and many other supporters of WSU and the institute's mission. Through these contributions, the institute was organized and held its first symposium on ethics and politics in December 2007. For more information about the Richards Institute, visit

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Nathan Clark, development director
801-626-7539 • 

Nancy Haanstad, chair, Department of Political Science & Philosophy
801-626-6698 • 
Travis Clemens, assistant director of Media Relations
801-626-7948 •