National Public Policy Symposiums

Every year the Institute holds a public policy symposium on important national, state, and regional issues. Top governmental officials, often including cabinet level officials, and public policy experts come to share their knowledge and insights with Bradley students, faculty, and community leaders. Students also benefit by interacting with these distinguished leaders and participating in the symposiums. The symposiums are endowed by the Dirksen Congressional Center.

Protecting the Illinois River

Illinois State Senator Dave Koehler (left) and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (center right) mingle before the symposium

The Protecting the Illinois River Symposium focused on the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. The bill would make major improvements to navigation infrastructure as well as upgrading the locks and damns across the country. Many of these projects will make improvements to the Illinois River.

This topic is complex in that it requires a large amount of collaboration between state and federal officials since the state must match many of the resources put into it by the federal government.

Healthcare for All Americans

Nursing students from Bradley University attended the Health Care symposium

Taking place just before the passage of President Obama's historic healthcare reform law, this symposium focused on the need for a bipartisan solution to this pressing problem. The keynote speaker was president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donahue, warning the audience about the rising costs of providing health insurance for small businesses.

Members of the 2008 Romney and Obama campaigns also presented their solutions, focused on prevention. Retired Caterpillar CEO Glen Barton also addressed the audience. Read his speech here.

Midwest Energy Solutions

Institute Director Brad McMillan leads a panel discussion

The goal of this symposium was to find ways to reduce U.S. Dependence on foreign oil by diversifying our national energy supply. Speakers gave presentations about such sources as coal, ethanol, wind and nuclear power.

Executive Vice President of Exelon Bill Von Hoene and Caterpillar's Director of Research and Technology John Amdall talked about their companies' goals of reducing fossil fuel consumption.

The Future of Midwest Transportation

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asks Bradley students about the cost of transporting goods

Students and policymakers explored ways to make the Midwest a hub for the kind of advanced transportation systems the country needs to lead in this field. U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Bradley alumni Ray LaHood discussed the magnitude of the proposed $500 billion transportation bill and what it could mean for Central Illinois and the country.

Several groups of Bradley students gave presentations about their contributions to the field, including an innovative Ultra Lightweight Urban Vehicle that gets the equivalent of 300 miles to the gallon.

Education

Education Secretary Arnie Duncan

Nearly 500 teachers, principals and community leaders attended this symposium to explore ways to give America's children the best education possible.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan led the way, emphasizing the importance of obtaining a consensus on the solutions to the country's education problems. Educators and innovators from around the state and the country shared their expertise on the topic with nearly 150 Bradley students.

Midwest Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack discusses sustainability with a Bradley student

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was the keynote speaker, discussing the upcoming multi-year farm bill. Students had the opportunity to present their projects and solutions to Secretary Vilsack and the audience as well as the ability to participate in a question and answer session with the Secretary.

Other notable speakers include State Senators Darin LaHood and Dave Koehler, former Peoria mayor Bud Grieves and Illinois State Director at USDA Rural Development Colleen Callahan.