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Foxley Forum Opens at Utah State University

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014

Sasha Issenberg interacts with the audience at the opening Foxley Forum at USU

Sasha Issenberg was the engaging opening speaker of the Foxley Forum at Utah State University.

Douglas Foxley at the opening event of the Foxley Forum at USU

Douglas Foxley joined the audience at the opening Foxley Forum.

The inaugural speaker at the Foxley Forum, a new speaker series at Utah State University, provided an appropriate opening, offering an in-depth look at the national political scene and the inner workings of the campaign world. Traveling to Utah as the opening guest was journalist and author Sasha Issenberg.  On hand for the first event were a number of guests, including the forum’s namesake, Douglas Foxley. 

The Foxley Forum is a speaker series offered by USU’s Institute of Government and Politics with a goal of engaging students, faculty and the community.

"Doug Foxley has built an incredible legacy in Utah politics,” said Neil Abercrombie, USU’s director of government relations and head of the Institute of Government and Politics. “But at the base of this legacy is his experience at Utah State University as an undergraduate student. Doug has always given back to USU and has mentored a number of USU graduates. The Foxley Forum speaker series will provide students an opportunity to meet with, and hear directly from, some of the top local and national political leaders. This speaker series would not be possible without Doug's generous gift of time, passion and financial support to the IOGP." 

Foxley is a long-time supporter of Utah State where his experiences range from that of a student to eventually serving on the institution’s Board of Trustees. His insights into the political world and his inquisitive mind provide a perfect opportunity to create the Foxley Forum, Abercrombie said.

As a student, Foxley was among the first USU students to serve an internship in Washington, D.C. Since that time he has built a respected career whether advising a number of local, state and federal candidates or providing legislative representation for a number of Utah’s most respected and well-known companies. He is, Abercrombie said, one of Utah’s premier lobbyists. He is a principal partner at Foxley and Pignanelli, Attorneys-at-Law.

In a nod to his days as a student intern, the Institute of Government and Politics has established the Douglas S. Foxley Scholarship — an award presented to the student intern who writes the best research paper during his or her internship period. As noted by many, Foxley has mentored dozens of USU Aggie interns over the years.

In his introductory remarks, Foxley welcomed the opening speaker and acknowledged a number of guests. Support for and interest in the opening session was high with a crowd that included students, faculty members and guests. The audience included friends and supporters of the program, including Herm Olsen, Roger Tew, Ross Peterson, LJ Godfrey, Stephen Foxley, Renea Cowley, Frank Pignanelli, USU Dean Doug Anderson and Aimee McConkie, among others.

Damon Cann, a political science professor at USU said the Foxley Forum is designed to bring nationally recognized speakers to campus to share perspectives on pressing political issues and to develop students’ interests in politics.

“With the financial support by Doug and other donors, we will be able to bring the country’s top political minds to Utah State,” Cann said.

The catalyst for Issenberg’s appearance was his book The Victory Lab — The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.

“‘The Victory Lab’ focuses on how political campaigns are making use of social science research — including psychology, marketing and political science — to be more effective in persuading and mobilizing voters,” Cann said. “Doug Foxley introduced me to Sasha’s work last fall and I see ‘The Victory Lab’ as one of the most important popular politics books published in the last 10 years.

“For Doug to help bring Sasha to campus is a terrific gift to the university community. The only thing better is that this is just the first in what will be many top-notch speakers who will come our way as part of the Foxley Forum series.”

Cann said in many ways, Issenberg was the perfect opening speaker because his work focuses on strengthening ties between academic political science and practical politics.

“For years, Doug Foxley has been one of the best in the business at using the academic skills he learned at Utah State University and applying them to great effect in the real world of politics,” Cann said.

In addition to his book, Issenberg has been a working journalist. He covered the 2008 election for The Boston Globe. His work has also appeared in, among others, The New York Times Magazine, Washington Monthly, The Atlantic and George, where he served as a contributing editor. He is currently a government fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

USU’s Institute of Government and Politics is a nonpartisan center at USU that provides students internships opportunities in Washington, D.C., in Utah and around the world. The IOGP strives to demonstrate the importance of politics and policy for students in every field, offering internships and campus events tailored to students in business, marketing, history, journalism, sociology, education, the arts and the hard sciences.

Related link:

USU Institute of Government and Politics

Contact: Neil Abercrombie, (435) 797-0258,

Contact: Damon Cann, (435) 797-8705,

Writer: Patrick Williams, (435) 797-1354,

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