Heidi Heitkamp Appointed Next Director of the Institute of Politics

To: Senior Administrators
From: Paul Alivisatos, President
Subject: Heidi Heitkamp appointed next Director of the Institute of Politics
Date: October 11, 2022

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp as the next Director of the Institute of Politics (IOP), effective January 3, 2023. Heidi succeeds David Axelrod, who announced in February his plans to step down from the role. He will remain a distinguished fellow at the IOP and the Harris School and serve as chair of the IOP Board of Advisors. 

Heidi has a long and accomplished career in public office and a track record of working in a bipartisan fashion to accomplish policy goals. She was the first female senator elected from North Dakota, serving from 2013 to 2019. She previously served as North Dakota’s attorney general and elected state tax commissioner, and she serves on the boards of the McCain Institute, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Renew Democracy Initiative, and German Marshall Fund. After leaving the Senate, Heidi co-founded the One Country Project, an organization focused on addressing the needs and concerns of rural America. She currently serves as a contributor to CNBC and ABC News.   

Heidi comes to the University having served as a Pritzker Fellow in the IOP and member of the IOP Board of Advisors and is also the parent of a College alumnus. Her passion for working with young people, her ability to bring people of varied perspectives and positions together, and her clear understanding of the University’s values of open discourse and freedom of expression will serve the IOP and the University well.   

Heidi completed her BA in political science and history at the University of North Dakota and her JD at Lewis & Clark Law School.  

I want to acknowledge the incredible leadership that David Axelrod has brought to the Institute of Politics since founding it in 2013. He came to the University more than 10 years ago with an ambitious vision for the institute and, along with the team of staff and student leaders at the IOP, has had tremendous impact in realizing it. The IOP could not be better situated for Heidi to step in as its next leader and ensure that students have the opportunity to nurture a passion for public service, meaningful dialogue, and active engagement in our democracy.    

Later this quarter Heidi will be on campus for a public program and reception to welcome her to her new role. She will work closely with David as well as Zeenat Rahman, Katie Callow-Wright, and the IOP team and as she begins her transition to this new role. I look forward to introducing Heidi to those of you she has not met and seeing her integrate further into the life of the University as she leads the IOP in its next era. 

Please join me in congratulating Heidi on her appointment and welcoming her to our community.