News Release

Paul C. Light Named Douglas Dillon Chair and Director of New Brookings Center for Public Service

The Brookings Institution is pleased to announce that eminent political scientist Paul Charles Light will join Brookings as the Douglas Dillon Chair and director of the new Brookings Center for Public Service.

Light will start at Brookings in January after four years at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where, as director of the Public Policy program, he has launched an initiative to renew civic life in America and managed a portfolio of nearly $100 million in grants to organizations involved in campaign reform, civic engagement, and government performance. The new Brookings Center for Public Service, under the auspices of the Brookings Governmental Studies program, will analyze the nature of public service in today’s world, and launch a national campaign to encourage talented young Americans to consider public service careers.

“Despite all the bad news coming out of Washington these days,” said Light, “this could not be a better time to call Americans in general, and young Americans especially, back to public service. We need to remind America’s best and brightest that the public service remains a noble calling. But we also need to make sure that the government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and even private firms that deliver public services use that talent wisely. From its earliest days, Brookings has examined government efficiencies and the optimal use of America’s best minds. I look forward to working in that tradition.”

“Paul’s is a major voice in the arenas of public service and government performance,” said Brookings President Michael H. Armacost. “His crystal clear thinking and his superb record of resource management bode very well for our new Center and its important mission.”

“Paul is a first-class scholar as well as an administrator of vast and varied experience,” said Brookings Governmental Studies Director Thomas E. Mann. “We look forward to working with him to launch this valuable initiative.”

Prior to working with Pew, Light was a professor and associate dean at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, senior adviser to two national commissions on public service, senior staff to John Glenn’s U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, research director of the National Academy of Public Administration, and an American Political Science Congressional Fellow to Rep. Barber B. Conable, Jr. during the 1982-83 social security rescue. Since receiving his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1980, Light has written eleven books, four of which have won national awards. His eleventh book, Shrinking Government: Building A Federal Workforce That Looks Smaller And Delivers More, will be published by Brookings in 1999. Light was affiliated with Brookings as a guest scholar from 1982 to 1984, and as a visiting fellow from 1993 to 1995.

The Center for Public Service will focus on (1) producing high quality, easily accessible research reports on the changing state of the public service at all levels of government, and also in the private and nonprofit sectors; (2) launching a national media campaign designed to remind Americans, as well as their teachers and employers, that public service is an obligation of every career, and; (3) encouraging necessary reforms in how the public service works.

The new Center will also continue research begun by the Brookings Center for Public Management, including ongoing assessments of reform efforts such as Vice President Al Gore’s Reinventing Government campaign.