Former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who served as chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee as well as two terms as New Hampshire governor, will be the 2023 Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy.
Gregg, who has lectured and taught seminars at Dartmouth a number of times over the past decade, says he always enjoys working with the Rockefeller Center and interacting with Dartmouth students.
“Rocky is a great institution that has developed over the years into one of the premier centers for political thought in New Hampshire and in the country,” says Gregg. And Rocky students are always well informed, engaged, and excited about public policy and civic service, he says.
“I like to learn from the students. They always have interesting thoughts and ideas,” Gregg says. “It helps me to stay current. Over the years I actually have learned as much as I’ve tried to impart, hopefully even more.”
Jason Barabas ’93, director of the Rockefeller Center, welcomed Gregg, praising the senator for his distinguished service to the state of New Hampshire in both chambers of Congress, and as governor and executive councilor, as well as a champion of institutions of higher learning across the state.
“We are delighted to have him join the Rockefeller Center this fall as our 2023 Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor,” Barabas says. “Senator Gregg has visited Rocky many times over the years, and his visits always inspire students and provide them with great lessons in public service and leadership.”
Gregg will deliver his Perkins Bass Distinguished Lecture at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 28, in Hinman Forum at the Rockefeller Center. Plans are in the works for Gregg to also visit a classroom and have dinner with Rocky students.
The event, billed as a conversation with Judd Gregg, will examine the question “Is the Senate Broken?”
Gregg explained that the question points to a bigger issue of “whether our political culture is going through a transition that makes it hard for the Senate to function as Madison and the framers wanted, which is as the ultimate protector of the minority, which requires compromise in order to go forward.”
Gregg served as an executive councilor from 1979 to 1981, in the U.S. House from 1981 to 1988, as governor of New Hampshire from 1989 to 1993, and as U.S. senator from 1993 to 2011, when he declined to run for another term. In the Senate, he served as chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Committee on the Budget.
Gregg also briefly agreed to be the secretary of commerce for Democrat Barack Obama when he was first elected president; Gregg then withdrew as nominee, saying his fiscal conservatism wouldn’t jibe with the new administration.
Gregg sees current politics in the United States as undermining the institutions that make our system of government work.
“Can those institutions continue to function in a society that has got this rampant populist movement, both on the left and the right, which is totally intolerant and which is fueled by social media to a great degree?”
Gregg says he sees the lecture as an opportunity to spark conversation between students, faculty, and the public.
“I’ll probably talk for about 15 or 20 minutes and then, hopefully, people will be engaged in talking and asking questions,” Gregg says.
Named for longtime U.S. Rep. Perkins Bass ’34, the distinguished visitors program invites New Hampshire citizens who have made outstanding contributions in government to share their experiences with the Dartmouth community. Bass, who died in 2011 at 99, was a four-term Republican member of Congress and had also served as a New Hampshire state legislator.
Gregg says he is thrilled to return to Dartmouth as a Perkins Bass visitor.
“I knew Perkins Bass when I was very young and he was a good friend of my father and our family, and I was also a friend and colleague of his son, Charlie Bass, who won the congressional seat I left after I was elected governor,” says Gregg, whose father Hugh Gregg was New Hampshire governor from 1953 to 1955.
Gregg has had a strong relationship with Dartmouth for many years.
In addition to having three children who are Dartmouth graduates, Gregg was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2006, delivered the opening lecture for the Leading Voices in Politics and Policy series in 2011, and in 2012 was named Dartmouth Distinguished Fellow. The three-year provostial fellowship involved lectures, participation in undergraduate classes, and acting as an adviser to students working on theses and independent research projects in government and public policy studies.
As Dartmouth’s 10th Perkins Bass visitor, Gregg follows New Hampshire public policy leaders including former Gov. John Lynch; former U.S. senator and current candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte; former state Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick; and former Speaker of the House Terie Norelli.
The Perkins Bass Visitorship Program is supported by the Perkins Bass 1934 Fund, which was established in 2012. The fund also supports internships for Dartmouth students working in public affairs in New Hampshire.