Marcia Madsen


Marcia Madsen graduated from the University of Utah in 1972 and is a true Hinckley success story. As one of the first women to participate in a Hinckley internship in Washington D.C., she was always driven to make a difference. 

An ambitious student, Madsen participated in many of the opportunities the Hinckley provided. During her undergraduate career, she participated in an internship with the Utah State Legislature working for Representative Howard Nielson. She also worked for various political campaigns, included U.S. Representative Sherman Lloyd’s. Her D.C. Internship was for U.S. Senator Wallace F. Bennett. During her time in Bennett’s office she met many historic people such as Jesselie Barlow Anderson, Mary Squires, Tom Korologos, Paul Denham, and others. While interning in D.C., her research for her Honors thesis led her to interview Senator William J. Fulbright about his work as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with regard to the Vietnam War and the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. 

During her time on campus, she enjoyed interacting with the Hinckley staff including Bea Gardner and Director J.D. Williams. She remembers that J.D. Williams encouraged her to apply for the D.C. Internship with Senator Bennett.

Madsen reflects that the Hinckley Institute broadened her perspective through the many discussions and debates the Institute helped facilitate. Her college career also led her to work for Dan Jones, Ray Briscoe, and Bruce Mayfield. These experiences allowed her to view the political process as a student and up close through the polls. 

After her D.C. Internship, Madsen was offered a position as a legislative assistant in Senator Bennett’s office. As she acquired a more permanent place in D.C., she also began attending law school at night. She obtained her J.D. from American University and, subsequently, an LLM from Georgetown University. After leaving Senator Bennett’s office, I worked at the Department of Justice and then later for U.S. Representative Joseph M. McDade of Pennsylvania until finishing her LLM.  

 After completing her degrees, Madsen retained a lifelong interest in public policy. She has served as Chair of the ABA Section of Public Contract Law and chaired numerous Section Committees.  She was appointed by the Executive Office of the President to Chair the Acquisition Advisory Panel from 2004-2007.  She has testified before Congress on several occasions regarding acquisition policy and also regarding the civil False Claims Act.

Looking back on the contribution her education made to her life’s work, Madsen says,

“The Hinckley Institute and the wonderful committed people in the Political Science and History Departments and the Honors program taught me about the Constitution, the U.S. political process and the role of each citizen.  The combination of the Hinckley Institute, the Honors Program and the U. debate team provided a very solid foundation for my legal career.”