Bill Lacy will take an unpaid, indefinite leave of absence as the director of the Dole Institute of Politics at the Kansas University to take a leading role in former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's exploratory presidential campaign, the university reported this morning.
"Bill has been an extraordinary leader and visionary for the institute, so it's no wonder Fred Thompson is seeking his services again. This is a tremendous honor for Bill and for KU," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "We look forward to the time we can welcome Bill back to KU so he can share his experiences with our students."
An interim director to oversee the institute while Lacy is on leave will be announced next week, Hemenway said.
Lacy will lead Thompson's "testing the waters" committee and have full operational control of the Friends of Fred Thompson committee and will report directly to Thompson.
The principal political strategist and campaign manager for Thompson's 1994 Senate race in Tennessee, Lacy has a long political resume including serving as White House political director for President Ronald Reagan and political strategist for former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole. He has served in senior roles in the five previous presidential campaigns from 1980 to 1996, including as GOP national political director in 1984 and California senior consultant for then Vice President George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign. Lacy served in the White House Political Office in 1982-83 and was director during 1985-86.
Under Lacy's leadership since 2004, the institute has brought numerous noted policy makers, authors, historians, military leaders and politicians to campus to speak to public events and meet with students. The list of visitors has ranged from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Gen. Richard Myers to former FEMA director Mike Brown. The institute has actively promoted youth involvement in civic activities and since 2005 has given 208 Dole Scholarships to Kansas college freshmen.
The Dole Institute, established at KU in 1997 to honor the former Kansas senator and KU alumnus, is designed to foster new thinking on major policy issues and to encourage student participation and citizen involvement in public service. The institute houses Dole's Congressional and personal papers. Among its many distinctive exhibits is a 29-by-24 foot stained glass American flag, believed to be the largest in stained glass.
Source: Kansas University