Home » Asbury opens public policy center with conference on opioid crisis

Asbury opens public policy center with conference on opioid crisis

Joe Pitts
Joe Pitts

WILMORE, Ky. (March 27, 2018) — Asbury University will dedicate its newest facility, the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy, at Kinlaw Library at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 28.

Honoring Asbury alumnus and former 20-year U.S. Rep. for Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District Joseph R. Pitts (Class of 1961), the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy expands Asbury’s civic engagement, equipping students to lead at local and national levels.

The center will offer academic resources like Pitts’ congressional papers (indexed and made accessible for research) as well as enrichment through speakers, conferences, leadership intensives and much more.

The center will host its first-ever conference Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. — “The Opioid Crisis: Seeking Solutions” conference will feature Dr. David Hager (Class of 1968) (NIH Advisory Council for The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development) and other experts.

In commemoration of Pitts’ service in Washington, D.C., the center is modeled as a replica of his office and features many of his memorabilia, awards, signed letters and drawings. Most notably, the center will serve as a repository for Pitts’ congressional papers. The center is located in Kinlaw Library.

Dr. Mark Troyer, vice president for institutional advancement and strategic partnerships, will open the dedication ceremony before guests hear from Asbury President Sandra C. Gray, who will discuss Pitts’ life of service and the vision for the center. Pitts, Wilmore Mayor Harold Rainwater and Board of Trustees Chair Larry Brown (Class of 1980) will also present during the dedication ceremony.

“The Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy will bring a unique set of opportunities to campus that will further equip students for civic awareness and engagement in pressing issues of the day,” Gray said. “We want to bring moral, ethical and informed minds to every part of society, in a way that seeks solutions for the betterment of all.”

Dr. Steve Clements, chair of the social science and history department and an associate professor of political science, will give remarks on the academic impact the Pitts Center will have on the university.

“Pitts Center activities should strengthen and grow the program over time, we hope, significantly,” Clements said. “Through political science scholarships, sponsored speakers and events focused on policy problems and political matters, internship opportunities in Washington, D.C. and state capitals and funded research projects, students from political science, and even related disciplines, will have enhanced learning experiences.”

The addition of the Pitts Center is part of the university’s Imagine 2022 five-year strategic plan and will focus on six key areas within the political science program:

  • Human Trafficking
  • Humanitarian Relief
  • Civic Engagement
  • Cultural Renewal
  • Preparation for Public Service
  • Religious Freedom (domestic and international)

The Pitts Center initiatives will bring a Speaker Series to campus, create an annual $2,500 political science scholarship opportunity (Pitts Impact Scholars), send students on a two-and-a-half-week trip to Washington, D.C. (Washington Leadership Intensive), create opportunities for an annual scholarly conference (Annual Pitts Symposium and Scholarly Monograph) and provide online resources (Pitts Center Personnel and Web Site Support).

On Wednesday, the center’s first conference will explore challenges and solutions related to the opioid crisis in Kentucky. Free and open to the public, “The Opioid Crisis: Seeking Solutions” begins at 1:30 p.m. in Asbury’s Jameson Recital Hall. The conference will feature Hager, Sharon Tankersley (executive director, Voices of Hope), Van Ingram (executive director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy) and others. 

Learn more about the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy by visiting www.asbury.edu/pittscenter.