Boehner Institute in development

Student-centered project will honor legacy of former Speaker of the House

Photo courtesy of | John Boehner decided to honor Xavier by donating his Congressional papers to what will be the Boehner Institute.

Xavier University will be working with former Speaker of the House John Boehner to form “a student-centered project,” according to university spokeswoman Kelly Leon. The project, titled the Boehner Institute, will honor the Congressional legacy and leadership of the Xavier alum. Father Michael Graham, president, and Boehner hosted a small, informal meeting in Naples, Fla., on Feb. 6 that determined the collaboration.

Before his career in Congress from 1990 to 2015, Boehner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Xavier in 1977. Boehner has decided to honor the university by donating his Congressional papers.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Mengel said the Boehner Institute is still in the “imagining process.” He shared that the principle question driving the institute’s development is “how might the collection of Speaker John Boehner’s Congressional papers, which the Speaker donated to Xavier, allow us to provide additional learning opportunities to Xavier students and our community?”

The Boehner Institute will not just be another academic program. While it will predictably be of use for the political science program as well as Philosophy, Politics and the Public program (PPP), Mengel hopes that the Congressional papers will be useful across disciplines as a “resource for Xavier students and the larger community.”

Junior PPP and Economics double major Jacob Jansen also expressed hope that students of all backgrounds will be able to use the Institute as a resource.

“I’m excited that Xavier has taken advantage of this unique opportunity,” Jansen said. “Whether you like his politics or not, John Boehner is an important member of our alumni network, and although I’ve heard concerns from other students that his party’s ideology will carry over to the institute, I hope and truly believe that Xavier will have the capacity to maintain a bipartisan nature in the institute, allowing students of any ideology to learn politics in an extraordinary way.”

Jansen also commented on the effects not only on Xavier but also on the PPP program. He thinks the institute could elevate the university’s status as a center of political study and enable further success of the program.

“The introduction of the institute to Xavier’s campus leaves the potential for this school to become a hub for political studies across the Midwest, in which I would imagine the PPP program would certainly play a role,” Jansen said. “The program already attempts to instill in its students the necessary skills to succeed in politics, and with the addition of the institute, it stands to become a training ground of tomorrow’s leaders, just like the Ivies.”

Mengel will be working with Student Government Association President Johnny Srsich to ensure student engagement in the process.

By: Heather Gast ~Staff Writer~