We also have a number of upcoming conference events : click here!
David Gergen – A Return to Civility
La Crosse – UW-La Crosse Student Union
521 East Avenue North, La Crosse, WI 54601
February 27, 2020 – 6:00p.m.
The Thompson Center is pleased to announce a speaker presentation by David Gergen in La Crosse. This event will be part of UW-La Crosse Political Science and Public Administration’s “Civility in a Partisan Era” lecture series.
Gergen is a Senior political analyst for CNN and was an advisor to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton presidential administrations. He has an exemplary record of public service and more recently has worked as an esteemed political journalist, commentator, and editor.
Gergen is a professor of public service and founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, positions he has held for over a decade. Twice he has been a member of election coverage teams that won Peabody awards, and he has contributed to two Emmy award-winning political analysis teams.
The event is fully funded by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership.
Free tickets are available Here!
A Conversation with Michael Beschloss & Doris Kearns Goodwin
Green Bay – UW-Green Bay – Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
2420 Nicolet Drive Green Bay, WI 54311
March 9, 2020 ; 6:00pm
Doors open at 5:30pm
The Thompson Center feels it has hit a home run with these award-winning authors and is thrilled to partner with UW-Green Bay and the Weidner Center to bring these speakers to a free public event in Green Bay.
The New York Times has called Michael Beschloss “easily the most widely recognized Presidential historian in the United States.” The Charlotte Observer has said, “Michael Beschloss knows more about America’s Presidents than perhaps anyone on earth.” Michael is an award-winning historian, bestselling author of nine books and has been a New York Times contributing columnist. He is the NBC News Presidential Historian and a contributor to the PBS NewsHour.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a Pulitzer-prize winning author, biographer, presidential historian and former assistant to Lyndon Johnson. Her seventh and New York Times bestselling book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. It is a culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying the American presidents focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a fantastic event!
Free Tickets are available Here!
Socialism, Social Democracy, & Capitalism – A Debate on Which is Right for America
Madison – UW Madison Discovery Building – DeLuca Forum
330 N Orchard St, Madison, WI 53715
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.
The Thompson Center is pleased to be cosponsoring this important event with UW-Madison’s Center for Research On the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE). This debate will discuss the ideas, philosophy, and practical policy questions behind socialist and social democratic systems, and compare them to capitalist economies (both in ideal form and in current practice in the US). The debate will also discuss the historical and economic record of socialist and social democratic economies, and relate past experience to current policy proposals.
This debate will feature two highly esteemed professionals:
Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence, and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago Law School will speak in favor of social democracy (and perhaps eventual socialism). Dr. Leiter is an expert in moral, political and legal philosophy; constitutional law; evidence; freedom of speech and religion; and academic freedom.
Bryan Caplan, Professor Economics at George Mason University and Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center will speak in favor of capitalism. Dr. Caplan specializes in public economics, public choice, psychology and economics, public opinion, economics of the family and education, genoeconomics, and Austrian economics. A great deal of his professional work has been devoted to the philosophies of libertarianism and free-market capitalism.
Free tickets are available Here!
John Bolton – Populism, National Security, and U.S. Foreign Policy in Uncertain Times
UW Center for Civic Engagement – James F. Veninga Theater
625 Stewart Ave, Wausau, WI
April 6, 2020; 7:00pm
The Tommy G. Thompson Center is pleased to be bringing John Bolton to Wausau. Bolton is a former national security adviser to President Trump and former ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush. A long-time conservative Republican, Bolton has served as a political consultant, conservative media commentator and diplomat. The author of several books on American politics, he has championed a strong U.S. foreign and defense policy on American foreign policy and advocated for reform of the United Nations.
The Thompson Center is pleased to be working with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Services (WIPPS) to facilitate this event.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, email email@example.com or call 715-261-6368.
Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush
1500 N. University Dr. Waukesha, WI
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 – 7:00pm
The Thompson Center is thrilled to have former Governor of Florida (1999-2007) Jeb Bush join us in Waukesha to speak on his career and history. As Governor of a battleground state, Bush has a wealth of public leadership experience and practical knowledge which led him to be the first Republican governor to win reelection in Florida state history. During his two terms, Governor Bush championed major reforms in government, ranging from health care and environmental protection to civil service, education reform, and tax reform.
Ticket information available Here!
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Past Speakers and Events
Brian DeVore – Wildly Successful Farming: Public Policy and the New Agricultural Land Ethic
UW Eau Claire, Barron County; Ritzinger Hall
January 30th, 2020
Brian DeVore will describe farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and across the Midwest who are balancing profitability and food production with environmental sustainability and a passion for all things wild. These farmers are using innovative cropping and livestock production techniques and strategies to develop their “wildly” successful farms as working ecosystems and are adhering to the principles of the “land ethic,” which Aldo Leopold discussed in the 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac. Discussion will also focus on the role public policy can play in promoting and supporting the kind of regenerative agriculture that produces numerous environmental and economic benefits in local communities.
Temple Grandin – The World Needs All Kinds of Minds
UW Stevens Point; Sentry Insurance Theatre
December 3rd, 2019
*Tickets sold out
Temple Grandin is a world-renowned activist for autism and neurodiversity more generally. She has published six books on the topic, and her life story was featured in HBO’s 2010 film Temple Grandin. In her talk, Grandin will explain the needs for different types of cognition and provide a first-person view into the mind of someone living on the autism spectrum. She will share how she is able to build a bridge of understanding between humans and animals, as well as between people on and off the autism spectrum. For example, she speaks of how she thinks in pictures rather than language. In order to solve the energy crisis or develop cures for new diseases, Grandin advocates that society begin to appreciate different types of minds: sensory thinkers, pattern thinkers and abstract thinkers.
Jonah Goldberg – What’s Tearing America Apart?
UW-Madison; Ingraham Hall, Rm. 22
November 13, 2019
The Thompson Center is cosponsoring an event with UW-Madison’s Young Americans Freedom to bring Jonah Goldberg to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to talk about tribalism and how it undermines our political institutions. Goldberg is a New York Times best-selling author, AEI scholar, and editor-in-chief of The Dispatch. His talk will explore the question: “What’s Tearing America Apart?”. This event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, and the Young America’s Foundation.
Karen Ray – The Three “Rs” of Developing Collaborations that Work: Results, Relationships, Resilience
UW Superior; Yellow Jacket Union – Great Room
November 1st, 2019
Collaboration is a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve results they are more likely to achieve together than alone”. In times of shrinking resources and strident disagreements on many issues, public leadership requires the willingness and ability to initiate, support, and implement successful collaborations. Such collaborations will be essential to improving Wisconsin’s future and are inherent in the Wisconsin Idea. The talk with Karen Ray addressed:
Why Does College Cost So Much?
UW Madison; Discovery Building, the De Luca Forum
October 24, 2019; 4:00pm
The Tommy Thompson Center was pleased to co-sponsor an event with PROFS, WISCAPE, and ASPRO which examined college costs, in particular what is driving their dramatic rise and what the implications of this added expense. Panelists also discussed the pressure this has created on the state to increase funding levels and on universities to raise funds and pursue partnerships.
The Panel presentation consisted of:
David Feldman – William & Mary Professor of Economics
Laurent Heller – University of Wisconsin-Madison Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Tracey Klein – University of Wisconsin System Regent
and was moderated by:
Nicholas Hillman – University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Arthur Brooks Speaking Event
UW Madison; Pyle Center Alumni Lounge
October 17th, 2019 – 4:30pm
Special Thanks to our UW-Madison Co-Sponsors: The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, The La Follette School of Public Affairs, and the American Enterprise Institute Executive Council
Dr. Arthur Brooks is Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School. He most recently served for 10 years as President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank in Washington, DC. His career includes serving as a columnist for the Washington Post, a host of the podcast “The Arthur Brooks Show,” and the bestselling author of 11 books on topics including the role of government, fairness, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise. Dr. Brooks joined us to discuss his latest book, “Love Your Enemies – How Decent People can Save America from the Culture of Contempt.”
UW-La Crosse, The Bluffs, UWL Student Union
October 17, 2019
George Will, whose newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974, discussed “Civility, Partisanship and Conservatism in America” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in The Bluffs at the UW-La Crosse Student Union. Will’s column appears twice weekly in about 400 newspapers in the U.S. and Europe. He also serves as a contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. His most recent book is titled “The Conservative Sensibility”.
Michael J. Isham Jr. – The Native American Presence in the Red Cedar Watershed, Past & Present
UW Eau Claire, Barron County; Ritzinger Hall
October 17th, 2019
Mic Isham, executive director of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC.org), discussed the geography of the Red Cedar Watershed, migration routes of the Ojibwe along the St. Lawrence Seaway from the 1400s through the 1700s, and treaties between these tribes and the U.S. government in the 1800s. He enumerated the 11 bands from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan who are part of GLIFWC as well as the divisions and purposes of each part of this organization. Finally, he explained how GLIFWC uses “tribal ecological knowledge” along with western scientific approaches to manage these resources. Not only was the audience engaged throughout his presentation, but a Q and A period continued for another 30 minutes. The presentation was filmed by Rice Lake Community Media and will be archived at this site (https://ricelaketv.viebit.com/?folder=Thursdays%20@%20The%20U) after being edited.
Emily Ladau – Both Sides of the Disability Disclosure Line
UW Superior; Yellow Jacket Union – Great Room
September 17th, 2019
As someone whose disabilities are both visible and invisible, Emily Ladau rolls on both sides of the disclosure line. Her body and use of a wheelchair automatically reveals part of her disability, but her experiences go well beyond what’s seen at surface level. In her talk, Emily discussed how her experiences as a woman with a visible disability have led to her move beyond shame regarding what’s hidden, and why it’s important to be open about disability as part of identity. She also addressed the need to foster a culture of support for people with all types of disabilities, and through a personal lens, shared practical pathways toward progress and (self-) acceptance.
Transportation & Innovation Expo
May 23, 2019; 8:00am – 4:00pm
Alliant Energy Center – Exhibition Hall
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison WI
Wisconsin Clean Cities, Alliant Energy, and the City of Madison are partnered to put together a conference and expo featuring sustainable energy industry leaders. The event included a breakfast and lunch and access to exhibit booths and vehicle displays. Breakout sessions featured throughout the morning and afternoon.
While not directly sponsored by the Thompson Center, this event aligned well with the discussions featured at the Thompson Center’s Future of Transportation in Wisconsin conference this past April.
Energy Innovation and Our Wisconsin Economy
May 22, 2019; 9:00am
State Capitol, Madison WI
Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens moderated a legislative panel at a state capital briefing. Progress has been made in Wisconsin to realize economic opportunities presented by energy tecnologies but more remains to be done. The events discussion focused on:
The economic benefits that could be made by an expansion of Wisconsin’s innovation in the energy markets;
How current state laws and policies influence innovative energy technologies; and
Highlighting potential policies that could improve the success rate and accelerate expansion of these opportunities.
This event was supported by Citizens’ Climate Education, The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
Wisconsin Women in Government Gala
May 15, 2019; 5:00-8:00pm
Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center
1 John Nolen Dr., Madison WI 53703
Wisconsin Women in Government hosted its 2019 Scholarship and Recognition Gala, held at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center on Lake Monona. WWIG presented this year’s gala in partnership with the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership and the Wisconsin Historical Society, as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.
The keynote speaker for this event was Kristen Soltis Anderson; a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights, a research and analytics firm. She was one of TIME‘s “30 Under 30 Changing the World” and has been featured as one of ELLE‘s 2016 “Most Compelling Women in Washington.” Anderson is also an ABC News political contributor, columnist at The Washington Examiner, and is the co-host of The Pollsters, a bipartisan weekly podcast. She regularly appears on programs such as Morning Joe, Fox News Sunday, Real Time With Bill Maher and more.
Austin Channing Brown
April 24, 2019; 6:00pm
UW-Superior – Yellowjacket Union Great Room
1605 Catlin Ave, Superior
Austin Channing Brown is a leading new voice on racial justice, and author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Austin is committed to exploring the intersections of racial justice, faith, and black womanhood. Most recently she served as a Resident Director and Multicultural Liaison at Calvin College.
April 22, 2019; 4:00pm
UW-Stevens Point – DUC Laird room
1015 Reserve Street, Stevens Point
Author, lecturer, and energy Investor Ramez Naam was at the UW-Stevens Point campus to talk about “The Exponential Energy Revolution: How Clean Energy is Disrupting the $6 Trillion Energy Industry” as part of a wider Earth Day event at UW-Stevens Point.
April 18, 2019; 4:00pm
Discovery Institute – H.F. DeLuca Forum
330 N. Orchard St. Madison, WI 53715
The Tommy G. Thompson Center was very pleased to host former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Attorney Dean Strang to speak about criminal justice reform at UW-Madison’s H.F. DeLuca Forum in the Discovery Building.
WI Ideas conference
April 12-14, 2019
UW-Madison, Union South
1308 W. Dayton St., Madison WI
The Tommy G. Thompson Center will be sponsoring two scholarships to be awarded to UW-System students. Competition for these scholarships will involve first signing with the WI Ideas Conference, which can be done here; and then later submitting an essay based on a writing prompt. Thompson Center scholarships will be awarded to two UW students who submit a well essay relating to leadership and the future of transportation in Wisconsin. Along with receiving the scholarships, the selected students will be offered the opportunity to discuss their essay and thoughts in a short presentation at the Thompson Center’s “Future of Transportation in Wisconsin” conference. (April 26, at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee)
The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor
April 15, 2019; 4:00 P.M.
Discovery Building – Orchard View Room
330 N. Orchard St. Madison, WI 53715
The UW Institute for Research on Poverty will host Michael Tanner, a Senior Fellow at the CATO Institute on April 15. The event will feature a discussion of the topics of his newest book, which examines poverty in America and critiques the political Right and Left on what they get wrong in addressing the issue. A reception will be held after the event.
This event is also sponsored by the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy and by the Thompson Center.
April 9, 2019; 6:00pm
UW-Platteville, Ullsvik Hall
1 University Plaza, Platteville
Frederick Hess is Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He spoke on the key lessons he’s learned about education reform over 20 years, illustrated by his experiences talking to politicians, philanthropists, and school leaders around the world.
April 9, 2019; 7:00pm
UW-Parkside, Student Center Ballroom
930 Wood Rd, Kenosha, WI
Author and political commentator Jonah Goldberg (Left) was at the UW-Parkside to talk about his new book, “Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy.” This free Q&A session was moderated by UW-Parkside Political Science and Law Professor Dr. Ross Astoria (Right).
April 4, 2019; 4:30pm
UW-La Crosse, Student Union Theatre
521 East Ave. N., La Crosse
John McCormack a Washington D.C. correspondent at the “National Review” kicked off a new UW-La Crosse lecture series that aims to bring some civility back into political discussion.
John will spoke on “A Crisis of Civility: How the left and the right are damaging political debate in America” at an engaging event attended by around 70 students, faculty, and members of the public.
John McCormack has appeared on a variety of radio and TV news programs, including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN’s Inside Politics, HBO’s Real Time, NPR’s On Point, and several Fox News shows, including Special Report with Bret Baier.
April 3, 2019; 6:00pm
UW-Green Bay, Weidner Center
2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311
National political strategists and former senior advisors to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, David Axelrod and Karl Rove, were on the UW-Green Bay campus for a Point-Counterpoint Conversation on Wednesday, April 3. Over 700 students, faculty, and members of the Green-Bay community and beyond registered to attend this event.
The event consisted of an hour of Q.A. with UW-Green Bay students and was followed by a larger free public event designed to provide and promote civil, non-partisan and thought provoking conversation about election polling and strategy, politicians and presidents, red and blue culture, the state of our democracy, the media and more.
Fox News 11 and ABC 2 news both aired stories on this event.
Donna Brazile and Kelly Ayotte
April 1, 2019; 7:00pm
UW-Milwaukee, UWM Union, Wisconsin Room
2200 E Kenwood Blvd. Milwaukee, WI
Donna Brazile, an American political analyst, and Kelly Ayotte, a former U.S. senator, spoke at the UWM Union Wisconsin Room on Monday, April 1, 2019. They lead a conversation spanning across political parties with a focus on women in leadership and politics. Over 150 students, faculty, and members of the public attended this excellent event. The Thompson Center would like to thank the University of Milwaukee for their substantial assistance in putting this together.
March 29, 2019
601 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53715
The Tommy G. Thompson Center was thrilled have Michael Murphy deliver a talk regarding the state of contemporary politics in America. The conversation spanned presidencies, elections, the future of the democratic and republican parties, the rise of the “I’m right, you’re evil” mentality prevalent in current political discourse.
March 21, 2019 7:00PM
UW-Parkside – Student Center Ballroom
Conservative pundit and former WTMJ-AM radio host Charlie Sykes discussed his book How the Right Lost its Mind and engaged in an extensive question-and-answer session at a forum about overcoming partisan politics for the public good.
Sykes is an NBC and MSNBC contributor, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and the host of the magazine’s Daily Standard podcast. He is also author of nine books and was co-editor of the National Review College Guide.
Wisconsin Civics Games
February 2, 2019
UW-Madison, Union South
1308 W. Dayton St., Madison WI
In an effort to foster civic engagement in Wisconsin youth, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation launched the Wisconsin Civics Games, which took place during the second semester of the 2018-19 school year and were open to all Wisconsin high schools. The Thompson Center sponsored the regional Wisconsin Civics Games at UW-Madison’s Union South. Center staff in attendance felt they were a smashing success, and were greatly impressed by the calibre of student participants who took part in the competition.
A Badger’s Journey: A Talk with Tommy Thompson
November 15 6:00pm-8:00pm
Address: One Alumni Place, 650 N. Lake St., Madison WI
Governor Thompson and his biographer Doug Moe were in Madison to talk about their new book, and to hold a question and answer session with the audience. The Governor engaged the audience with stories from his childhood, from his early days running for office, and of some of his experiences as both Wisconsin’s Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary. Following this was a reception and book signing.
The Tommy G. Thompson Center sponsored debate and election night viewing events at UW-System campuses around Wisconsin! These events bring together UW students from across the political spectrum to view the American political process in action.
The Tommy G. Thompson Center was pleased to partner with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) to put on an exciting, fun, and free public event at UW-Madison’s Education Building! Attendees were asked to solve the federal debt crises.
Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton September 25, 2018
Judge Jeffrey Sutton was on the UW-Madison campus and delivered a talk to students and other attendees on September 25th.
Thompson Book Event September 13, 2018
The Thompson Book Event celebrated Governor Thompson’s legacy of pragmatic policymaking, interest in tackling big issues, and willingness to work across the aisle. Governor Thompson discussed his new book TOMMY: My Journey of a Lifetime and weighed in on contemporary policy matters. The event was largely sponsored by the Thompson Center, working in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.
The Center hosted Dr. George Koonce in May of 2018. Koonce is a former linebacker for the Green Bay Packers and shared with us his own story of challenges and finding the strength to overcome them.
Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech
Cosponsored with the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at UW-Madison. Professor Keith Whittington of Princeton University headline presented, with discussion from Professors Donald Downs, Howard Schweber, and Anuj Desai.
Introducing High School Principals to the First Amendment
Cosponsored event which provided information to principals on what the First Amendment allows in the public school setting as well as how the First Amendment will apply to students who go on to colleges and universities.
Professor Jennifer Doleac
The Center worked with the La Follette School to have Professor Jennifer Doleac present her research while in Madison for the Center’s criminal justice conference. She came to Madison a day early to teach La Follette’s students about her discoveries.
Cosponsored along with the Department of Economics and the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy, on the particulars and potential outcomes of school choice. Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University headlined, and the discussion drew in students and faculty across the university.