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Prominent government and political leader Helmke joins SPEA faculty at IU Bloomington

December 11, 2012
Bloomington, Indiana --

Paul Helmke, former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and of the Brady Campaign/Center to Prevent Gun Violence, will be joining the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington starting in January.

Helmke served as the mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., from 1988 to 2000 and was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Indiana in 1998.

Paul HelmkeAt SPEA, Helmke will teach and also direct the new Civic Leaders Living-Learning Center. That facility in Briscoe Residence Center opens in fall 2013 and will be home to first-year students from across the IU campus who share an interest in government, economics, politics, policy and related subjects.

"I want to help a new generation prepare to become leaders, not just in the future, but now," Helmke said.

While his appointment as a professor of practice is new, Helmke is certainly familiar with the Bloomington campus. He attended IU as an undergraduate and served as president of the student government in 1969-70. He earned a degree in political science and graduated with highest honors. Helmke received his law degree from Yale University in 1973, graduating in the same class with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

As mayor of Fort Wayne, his "Community-Oriented Government" was praised for reducing crime, empowering neighborhoods and improving the urban environment. He chose not to seek a fourth term and worked as a lawyer in private practice until his appointment to lead the Brady Campaign/Center. He served as president and CEO of that organization from 2006 to 2011.

"As a mayor in Fort Wayne, with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and then in Washington, D.C., during my years running the Brady Campaign/Center, I was increasingly impressed with SPEA's importance," Helmke said. "SPEA's research, its faculty and its alumni are held in very high regard. Now to become a direct part of SPEA and contribute to its positive impact on the nation and the world is an honor indeed."

"We take pride in so many of our faculty having real-world experience, and Paul Helmke certainly has that quality in abundance," SPEA Executive Associate Dean David Reingold said. "What he learned leading Indiana's second-largest city and leading two important national organizations will benefit every SPEA student. I'm especially pleased he will be directing the Civic Leaders LLC because its residents will come from all corners of the campus."

Helmke's full biography is available on the Brady Campaign/Center to Prevent Gun Violence website.