Guest Speakers


Speaker: Richard Corcoran

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran gave the keynote address at the Spring Board of Advisors Meeting attended by the Public Policy Institute Board of Advisors, students, faculty, and guests.

Speaker: Mo Eleithee

Mo Elleithee, founding Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, gave the keynote address at the Public Policy Institute's Winter Board of Advisors Meeting. Prior to launching the GU IOP, Mr. Eleithee was a top communications strategist in the Democratic Party, most recently as Communications Director and chief spokesperson of the Democratic National Committee. He was senior spokesperson and traveling press secretary on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and worked on several other state and local races in every region of the country. He is a frequent political commentator on television and radio, and was named a FOX News contributor in 2016. He was a founding partner of Hilltop Public Solutions, one of Washington's leading political consulting and public affairs firms. Mr. Eleithee earned an undergraduate degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and an M.A. in Political Management from The George Washington University. 


Speaker: Gwen Graham 

Former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham visited Jacksonville University to give the keynote address at the Winter Board of Advisors Meeting attended by the Public Policy Institute Board of Advisors, students, faculty, and guests. 


Adam Putnam, speaking to a crowdSpeaker: Adam Putnam April 21

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam visited Jacksonville University to give the keynote address at the Spring Board of Advisors Meeting attended by the Public Policy Institute Board of Advisors, students, faculty, and guests. Commissioner Putnam addressed issues he believes are the keys to making Florida a player in the global job market - namely education and water management. Putnam has a desire for educated, savvy individuals to come to Florida not at the end of their lives to retire, but to choose Florida as the place to settle at the beginning of their adult lives to work and raise their children.

Speaker: Bob Graham February 16

The JU PPI Board of Advisors meets three times per year to provide advisement and support to the Institute. At the winter meeting, we were pleased to welcome former U.S. Senator Bob Graham to meet with and address the MPP students and faculty, the JU PPI Board, and guests in attendance​.

Senator Graham is a graduate of Harvard Law School and served as Florida Governor from 1979 to 1987, US Senator from 1987 to 2005, and ran for President of the United States, seeking the 2004 Democratic nomination. When first running for governor of Florida in 1978, his signature campaign move was "The Graham Workday" where he trained for a job and then worked in that industry for a full day. He continued these workdays as governor and senator, putting in 386 workdays total in a wide variety of positions.

After retiring from politics, Senator Graham served as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and was a Commissioner on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. In 2010, Senator Graham was appointed as Co-Chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. In 2006, he created the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at University of Florida.


Lenny Curry, speakingSpeaker: Lenny Curry

In 2015, Mayor Lenny Curry was elected as the 8th mayor of the consolidated City of Jacksonville. Prior to his election, he practiced as a Certified Public Accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and founded Jacksonville based professional services firm, ICX Group. He is the immediate past chair of the Republican Party of Florida and a South Jacksonville Rotarian. He was a Jacksonville Housing Commission Board member, a Commissioner of the Florida State Boxing Commission, and a Junior Achievement Board member. He has served as a Jacksonville Symphony Association Board member, a Southside United Methodist Church Finance Committee member, and as a big brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Mayor Curry discussed his first 90 days in office. He commented on the transition from campaign to service and extended thanks to several in the room for their advisement through that process. He also thanked the Public Policy Institute for hosting the transition subcommittee meetings over the summer. He covered several topics, including community involvement, public safety, and economy. He said that in coming months he would host series of community conversations as listening sessions on important topics, the first on possible expansion of Jacksonville's Human Rights Ordinance. He then discussed public safety as a top priority, highlighting Jacksonville Journey and the need to address public safety at all points of prevention, intervention, and enforcement. He then turned to Jacksonville's economic opportunities in JaxPort and commented that he favors deepening the St. Johns River to allow more trade to flow through Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Mayoral Transition

In May to July 2015, the Public Policy Institute was pleased to host the public meetings of Mayor Lenny Curry's transition team subcommittees at Jacksonville University. The eight subcommittees, totaling more than 100 members, each met twice weekly for four weeks to discuss matters affecting Jacksonville.

Mitt Romney receiving an honorary doctorate at spring commencement.Commencement Address April 25

On April 25, 2015, Jacksonville University confered degrees upon the first Master in Public Policy graduates in our state. W​e are proud of the accomplishments of these policy analysts and look forward to seeing great work from them in the future. Former Massachusetts Governor and former Presidential Candidate ​Mitt Romney delivered the commencement keynote address. More information on Wave Magazine Online.

Global Business Luncheon​ March 23

Jacksonville University was pleased to co-host this eve​​nt with the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville as we welcomed Mr. James G. Workman, writer and Deputy Director, Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design. This luncheon and conversation were moderated by Jacksonville University's own Dr. Quinton White of the Marine Science Research Institute and Mr. Rick Mullaney of the Public Policy Institute. Read more about Mr. Workman. Read more about MSRI.


Juvenile Justice Policy Forum November 20

Forum on juvenile justice policy with panelist​s Judge Henry Davis, State Attorney Angela Corey, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford, and Public Defender Matt Shirk. Topics will cover juvenile crime, direct filings, civic citations​, drug court, and Jacksonville Journey. Read more about the event at Wave Magazine Online. Read more at

Education Policy Conference November 12

This event, one of the premier education conferences in the state, drew students, faculty, policymakers, and community members together to discuss school choice, state accountability and assessment standards, Common Core, Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, low-performing Duval schools, FCAT 2.0, and more. Speakers included Gary Chartrand, Chair, Board of Education, Florida Department of Education; Pam Stewart, Commissioner on Education, Florida Department of Education; and Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, Duval County Public Schools.

Children's Health Policy Symposium October 21

In partnership with the City of Jacksonville, JU PPI hosted the Children’s Health Symposi​um for elected officials and health industry leaders.​

Federal Legislators Panel October 16

U.S. House of Representatives Congresswoman Corrine Brown discussed several local and state issues, focusing on representation and education.

U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Ander Crenshaw discussed local and state issues including housing, job creation, national security, and military affairs.

After their individual presentations, Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Congressman Ander Crenshaw took several audience questions, broadening the conversation to global issues including ISIS and military response, and concerns with global transportation and Ebola.

Jeff Atwater, presentingSpeaker: Jeff Atwater, CFO, State of Florida April 17

Jeff Atwater stopped by to discuss policy issues with the PPI Board of Advisors and PPI students.

Education Policy Forum February 11

Leadership, strategic planning and budgeting were topics brought to light during “Education Policy: Why it Matters,” a forum hosted Tuesday, Feb. 11, by the JU Public Policy Institute.


Will Weatherford, speakingWill Weatherford, Speaker, Florida House October 17

Will Weatherford, JU Alumnus, visited JU to discuss policy issues with the PPI Board of Advisors and PPI students.

Pam Bondi and Jason Altmire April 25

Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi and Jason Altmire, Florida Blue senior vice president of public policy, government and community affairs met with the Public Policy Institute Board of Advisors and PPI Faculty on April 25, 2013.

Governor Rick Scott, speakingRick Scott, Florida Governor​ February 7

Rick Scott, governor of the State of Florida, joined us on campus to discuss policy issues with the PPI Boar​d of Advisors.