What Drives Us

Robert H. Hinckley founded the Hinckley Institute of Politics in 1965 with the vision to, “teach students respect for practical politics and the principle of citizen involvement in government.” Since that time, the Hinckley Institute has provided a wide range of impactful programs for students, community leaders, and the general public.

The Hinckley Institute is dedicated to engaging students in transformative experiences and providing political thought leadership. 

Message from the Director: Jason P. Perry, JD

Jason P. Perry Director, Hinckley Institute of Politics

Jason P. Perry

Director, Hinckley Institute of Politics


I am humbled and honored to serve as the Hinckley Institute of Politics’ new director. To be candid, this appointment is my dream job. In my former capacity as Governor Herbert’s Chief of Staff, I had the privilege of working closely with the Institute’s leadership, alumni, and interns. In every collaboration, I was awed by the Institute’s caliber. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to state that the Hinckley Institute has profoundly impacted not just scores of individuals and communities—but also the very bedrock of our state’s government and policy. 

The Hinckley Institute’s legacy is a testament to Robert H. Hinckley’s prescient vision, the Hinckley family’s continued support (particularly that of Jim and Lyn Hinckley), and the uncompromising leadership of the four former directors and staff. 

I am particularly thrilled to be joining the Hinckley Institute at such a significant point in its history. Last year, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary, the Institute hosted a celebratory dinner with human rights activist and journalist Maziar Bahari, a Sam Rich Lecture with acclaimed author Michael Lewis, a week-long Siciliano Forum focused on “The Future of U.S.-Latin American Relations,” and a remarkable 102 public forums. What’s more, hundreds of students gave two-minute speeches in our inaugural HIP Talks event, and we launched the Hinckley Institute Outstanding Professor Series.

Most importantly, in 2015, we placed a record number of interns, including a growing number of graduate students. For example, a Hinckley student from the S. J. Quinney School of Law secured an esteemed internship with the General Counsel of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

I know first-hand the critical role that internships play in today’s job market. My internship with Senator Hatch’s office evolved into full-time employment and ultimately launched my career in the public sector. Everywhere I go, I get stopped by Hinckley Institute alumni who share similar accounts of how Hinckley Institute experiences transformed their trajectories. 

It is fitting, therefore, that this remarkable Institute is gaining a more central position at the University of Utah. We will be championing President Pershing and Provost Ruth Watkins’ initiative to serve students with signature experiences. In 2016, we will also be relocated to Building 72, the previous law school library, while our new home is constructed. The anticipated groundbreaking of the new building will take place in fall of 2016. The innovative space will be vast enough to house our explosive growth.

Indeed, I am most excited by the Hinckley Institute’s bright future. My driving initiatives will champion Robert H. Hinckley’s urge for “participation, participation, participation.” We will continue to expand internship opportunities to students of every major and discipline. Our goal is to continue branding the Hinckley Institute as the place for internships university wide, not just for Political Science majors. Furthermore, we aim to double the number of academic scholarships available to our students in five years—$29,000 to $60,000. We will also continue to increase the number of public forum opportunities and singular experiences that the Hinckley is known for offering students at the University of Utah. And, of course, we will continue to build on the legacy as the State of Utah’s premier political institution. 

Ultimately, I am grateful to be a part of the “Hinckley Family” and its esteemed traditions. I encourage all alumni to keep in touch and come visit us in Building 72.

Jason P.  Perry

Director, Hinckley Institute of Politics