WSU’s Walker Institute Hosts Political Civility Forum as New Director Takes Helm

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service has invited two of Utah’s top legislative leaders to tackle the topic of civility in politics at the annual Haven J. Barlow Fall Civic Leadership Forum.

Utah Sen. Jim Debakis, D-Salt Lake City, and House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, will discuss “Civility and Policy in Utah Politics” on Oct. 9 at noon in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms. The event is open to all and includes a free lunch for anyone who RSVPs via email to

 The forum marks the first event under the leadership of the new director of the Walker Institute, Robert Hunter.

“The title of the Walker Institute includes the words ‘public service,’” Hunter said. “In my opinion, the best public service any politician or political institution can perform is to treat other politicians and other political institutions with civility and respect. The Walker Institute’s goal is to create and build upon that atmosphere among the citizens and leaders of our community.” 

Hunter stepped into the role as Walker Institute director after 17 years as president and CEO of United Way of Northern Utah. Among many responsibilities, he is a member of the Utah advisory committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, chair of Weber Human Services and a Weber County Housing Authority commissioner. Hunter formerly served as Wasatch Front Regional Council of Governments chair, Weber County Commission chair and Ogden City manager.

 Hunter is well known to the Wildcat community. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Art/Visual Communication-Design from Weber State in 1968. He has also taught as an adjunct professor for 24 years in the departments of political science and communication.

Hunter has spent many years in public service, promoting collaboration among government, nonprofit and business leadership. He says civility is the bedrock of collaboration and the best way to serve the community.

“I believe in joining hands instead of waving fists,” Hunter said. “The sky’s the limit when you work that way.”

Visit for more news about the Walker Institute.

Visit for more news about Weber State University.


Robert Hunter, Walker Institute director
801-626-6206 •


Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director
801-626-7948 •