Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach is joining the University of Iowa faculty.
“We are so very pleased today to be announcing that he will become a visiting professor of law and the University of Iowa chair in Public Affairs beginning August 1 of this year,” University of Iowa president Sally Mason said late this morning at the Board of Regents meeting in Iowa City.
Leach, a Republican, served 30 years in congress before losing his bid for reelection in 2006. Leach joined the faculty at Princeton, his alma mater, then served as the interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
“We’re delighted that we were able to compete against the likes of Princeton, Harvard and others who were looking to bring Jim back to their institutions,” Mason said. “We were able to put together an interesting opportunity for him here. He’s going work with our Center for Human Rights. He’s going to advise law students in how to secure field placements in Washington, D.C. He’s going to give special campus-wide lectures in foreign policy, on legislative process, and on government and he will be teaching courses on American government and legislative process.”
Leach endorsed Democrat Barack Obama in August of 2008 and in 2009 Obama asked Leach to join his administration, as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leach, who is 70, retired from that position last month. He’ll start at the University of Iowa in August.
“We’re thrilled,” Mason said. “We’re excited about this.”
Leach is a Davenport native and represented the city for much of his congressional career. However, due to redistricting after the 2000 Census, he would have had to run against Republican Congressman Jim Nussle in 2002 to win reelection. Leach chose to move to Iowa City and run in another district.