November Alumni Spotlight: Professor Tim Chambless

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After 28 years of distinguished service, Professor Tim Chambless recently retired from the University of Utah. His career has touched the lives of thousands of people. The Hinckley Institute is grateful for his service is and proud to recognize him as our November 2017 Alumni spotlight.

Q: What are your experiences with the Hinckley Institute?

There are so many! Here are several:

  • Utah State Legislature 1973 internship with Republican Representatives Franklyn Matheson — one winter quarter
  • Salt Lake City internship with 1975 mayoral candidate Ted Wilson; 
  • I served as his U campus coordinator; a 80% student voter turnout for Ted helped him win 55%-45% — summer/autumn quarters
  • Student Host for the HIP’s “Coffee and Politics” sessions (later named “Hinckley Forums”) — 1 autumn quarter
  • Student Host for “Books and Banter” which encouraged students to read/discuss popular public policy books — 1 spring quarter
  • Began, planned, and led the Hinckley Institute’s  Washington, D.C. one-week seminar (“Capital Encounter’) — 24 consecutive years
  • Intern Coordinator for the HIP handling all internship placements — local, state, national and international — 3 years
  • Served as a faculty member on the Hinckley Institute of Politics’ advisory board with Director Ted Wilson —  3 years
  • I helped with the Legislative Prep class — helping to prepare Hinckley interns for Legislative sessions — 3 years
  • Participated frequently in the selection process for Truman Scholars and Matheson Scholarship recipients — occasionally over 15 years
  • Acted as a voting faculty member in the selection of student publications for the "Hinckley Journal” — occasionally over 10 years semesters)
  • Acted as a faculty moderator and facilitator, panel member and Hinckley host, and book reviewer — occasionally over 17 years
  • Often brought my large Political Science classes to the Hinckley caucus room to enjoy Hinckley Forums — frequently over 16 years

What is your favorite Hinckley Memory?

My most important Hinckley goal was my efforts, over 15 years, to act as a “bridge” between the Department of Political Science and the Hinckley Institute. I wanted to see a partnership emerge and a cooperative relationship that would be a win-win relationship for both. I am a big believer in teamwork in order to achieve success.  I am happy to see that a cooperative positive relationship has now finally been accomplished.  I give great credit to Jason Perry and Mark Button. My collective Hinckley memory was the ongoing opportunities (2000-2017) to speak to the news media about politics and governmental public policy issues. 

My single favorite Hinckley memory was the 4 years and 12 consecutive semesters that I had the honor of co-teaching a wonderful Hinckley seminar with Professor Bob Bennett after he left the U.S. Senate.  He was a true scholar.  He was the star who could stand and lecture for three straight hours, but he encouraged the students to engage in thoughtful discussion about the important readings he assigned.  I was so impressed with Professor Bennett’s scholarly knowledge; I can see why Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government had extended a standing invitation for him to lecture there for a year.  He was the star. When Professor Bennett could not attend the seminar, then I handled the class meetings.  In addition, I met with the students and graded their excellent essays.    I am appreciative to both Bob Bennett and the HIP’s 4th director Kirk Jowers for the opportunity to be involved with this wonderfully unique Hinckley class.

Q: How did the Hinckley impact your undergraduate career?

The Hinckley Institute of Politics gave real meaningfulness to my undergraduate education. Prior to my involvement with the Hinckley Institute, my undergraduate classes seemed to lack a connective direction in my academic life. I was learning details about politics and government, however, I felt disconnected from practical politics and the actual political/governmental process. The Hinckley Institute opened doors of opportunity for me.

Q: How has the Hinckley Institute impacted your career?

The Hinckley Institute changed my life.  Dr. J.D. Williams, the HIP’s first director, was a wonderful mentor for me. He served on my five-person Ph.D. committee.

Bae Gardner, his assistant, welcomed me into the Hinckley Institute. She was always encouraging. She offered me many opportunities to be a student leader. 

Mr. Robert H. Hinckley, Sr. said to me: “Tim, participate!  Participate!  Every student should be a politician.” He was both passionate and compassionate. 

I can still hear Robert Hinckley, Jr. asking:  “How can we benefit the students?” He survived D-Day, and wanted always to give back to U of U students. 

I remember R.J. Snow, the second director for the HIP, who brought a historical perspective and wonderful thoughtfulness to the Hinckley Institute.

Ted Wilson was my “boss” three times; his friendly personality and keen insights over 18 years as the third director greatly increased the public’s awareness and the news medias interaction with the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Dan Jones is a hero for me. I admire him beyond words. He treated me like an equal colleague, and spoke to me candidly and honestly. He helped me to stay focused on the essential public policy issues which could be qualified and analyzed. I was/am so impressed with his thoughtful manner and wise insights.  

The Hinckley Institute provided me with the opportunity to meet investigative reporter and nationally syndicated columnist Jack Anderson who would become the central focus of my graduate study.  My academic research on Jack Anderson and Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal gave me the opportunity to combine my ongoing interests in politics and government as well as history and law and public speaking — plus the role of the news media in  free society.   In other words, the Hinckley Institute helped me immeasurably — in many many ways — to discover and move dynamically along an exciting career path.