Foley remodel makes room for events, memories

PULLMAN, Wash. – Pieces of political history are on display at the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service, thanks to recently completed renovations and additions. The institute is a place for study and discussion of public affairs and public policy research, as well as student involvement.
“Having our own space to host events and display the large collection of congressional furnishings and political memorabilia has been a long term goal,” said Cornell Clayton, institute director.
Remodel follows relocation
The institute was founded in 1995 to honor the service of Tom Foley, who represented the citizens of eastern Washington in the U.S. Congress for 30 years and served as the 57th speaker of the House of Representatives. In 2000, the institute received an endowment from the U.S. Congress to pursue an ambitious program of public affairs education, support of public service through student internships and sponsorship of public policy research.
The institute relocated to the third floor of Bryan Hall in summer 2011 into space that formerly housed the Washington State University philosophy department. That department relocated to Johnson Tower to become part of the new School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs.
The remodel was financed mainly through money from the congressional endowment, along with assistance from the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Furnishings, memorabilia displayed
In the entry, guests are welcomed with elegant couches, armchairs and a desk that were part of Foley’s office while he served as speaker. Large cases display medals and awards presented to Foley during his career in public service, which included four years as U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Although many political artifacts from the Foley collection remain in storage, the institute displays an extensive collection of pictures, documents and memorabilia donated by the Foley family and others.
Down the hall, a bronze bust of Foley overlooks the remodeled conference room. The bust was recently donated by Sharon Taylor Hall, a Spokane artist and longtime friend of the Foleys.
Political pin collection
Along the rear wall of the conference room is a political pin collection donated by Frank Mullen, former WSU political science professor, and Marty Mullen, former employee of the WSU CUB art gallery. The collection includes political campaign buttons, coins and other memorabilia, some dating before the Civil War.
The conference space regularly hosts speakers, symposia and seminars. Guests include elected officials, national journalists and scholars who work in the areas of politics and public policy.
Most Foley events are recorded and subsequently made available online, thanks to the addition of audio/video technology. Many of the institute’s events can be found both at the Foley homepage,, and the Facebook page,