Dan Jones Center for Public Service opens at University of Utah

Oct 5, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2023, 9:58 am

The Dan Jones Center for Public Service opens at the University of Utah...

Google Maps, 2019. Carolyn and Kem Gardner Commons Building, University of Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah recently opened the Dan Jones Center for Public Service.

The center will continue the Dan Jones legacy of public opinion polling, community engagement and providing hands-on learning experiences for students.

Morgan Lyon Cotti, the Associate Director at the Hinckley Institute told  KSL at Night that the center is intended to honor Dan Jones’ legacy as a pollster and a teacher.  

“He taught at the University of Utah, Utah State, Bountiful High, Granite High. There are tens of thousands of students who were inspired by him,” Lyon Cotti said.

The center will continue to provide polling and research for the Hinckley Institute. For students, the center will offer internships, a campaign management minor, and research assistant positions.

Book about Dan Jones’ life

Along with the new Center, a book that Lyon Cotti has written about Jones’ life honors the late pollster and teacher. She got the idea during Jones’ retirement party.

“Dan was retiring from teaching and there were conversations about wanting to commemorate the work and just this incredible history,” she continued “I realized there’s no thinking about this. This is incredible. So that started this process.”

Lyon Cotti interviewed Dan himself, as well as Sen. Bob Bennett. Interviews with former Utah Governors Norman Bangerter and Olene Walker, and many more who were close to Jones are also featured.

“He (Jones), on his own and with partners at different times, started to develop the methods of ‘How do I accurately assess and understand what these opinions are.’ Even went back east to try to learn from some of the experts and realized, through his own trial and error … the methods of scientific polling that made him just so — I mean, he became a brand because he was so trusted and so relied on.”

Dan Jones died in 2018, at 84 years old. Throughout his life, Lyon Cotti said he stood out in the state and nationally as a pioneer in polling.

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Dan Jones Center for Public Service opens at University of Utah