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Public Policy Expert and New Endowed Chair at the University of Redlands

A new endowed faculty chair, the Ken and Lynn Hall Endowed Chair of Public Policy, has brought professor Greg Thorson to campus, who brings a clear understanding of a variety of issues-- from health care reform to education funding, from homelessness to the role of women in politics-- to his new role.

One of Thorson’s charges is to begin working to establish a public policy institute at the university.

Thorson’s background seems to make him well suited to that task.

He has already established himself as an expert in a number of areas of public policy and has appeared on numerous radio shows, including the “Al Franken Show” on Air America. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and a number of Minnesota-area newspapers and radio programs, as well as publications in Southern California.

He also is widely published, having written articles on rural homelessness, the search for affordable health care in rural areas, resource distribution in schools, conservative reformers, anti-incumbency attitudes among voters and the effects of Presidential coattails.

Thorson also has testified to members of the Minnesota Senate and House about the impacts of a health care bill, as well as an education bill establishing a new category for small school funding.

His own teaching style and interests also are a good fit for Redlands. He has received grants to incorporate service learning in his classes, and also has used geographic information systems (GIS) technology to help his students strengthen their understanding of public policy and problem solving.

“Greg Thorson, we believe, is just the right fit – he loves teaching, enjoys students and cares about public policy issues at the national and local level,” said Ken Hall ’60, who funded the position along with his wife, Lynn.

Hall, who is a Board of Trustee member, says he knows how desperately California needs trained public policy analysts in both the public and private sectors, and hopes Redlands can help fill that gap. He hopes the establishment of the chair position will lead to more student internship opportunities at the state and local level.

Hall is the founder of School Services of California, a firm that serves more than 900 California school districts, county offices and other agencies. The firm contracts with school agencies, providing a variety of governance and business-related services. Hall said he has long thought Redlands is well positioned to be a leader in public policy in the Inland area and beyond.

“The university already is so strong in terms of analytical thinking, writing and speaking,” Hall said. “It is natural that the university expands in this way. It makes sense that Redlands becomes a leader in public policy.”

Reach Thorson at greg_thorson@redlands.edu or 909-748-8636.  


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