A historic Washington, D.C., property that was once home to a Supreme Court chief justice will become a living and gathering place for the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics interns.
The U. has purchased a property at 1527 and 1529 18th Street NW for $13 million with gifts from the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation and the Kem and Carolyn Gardner family.
The property, purchased from the Mathematical Association of America, includes two large, interconnected brownstones and a stand-alone carriage house to be used as conference and event space.
The residential facilities will be named in honor of former Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, the state’s longest-serving senator. The Carriage House, located at 1781 Church Street, NW, will be named in honor of Carolyn Barnes Gardner.
The property is located steps away from Dupont Circle and Embassy Row, and nine blocks from the White House, which is ideally situated for student interns.
The U. will begin using the new Orrin G. Hatch Center early next year. The five-story, classic-revival, brick building built in 1903 will house up to 50 interns per semester and provide access for university leadership and staff.
Jason Perry, the U.’s vice president for government relations and institute director, said the purchase is “a game changer for us.”
The institute has rented apartments in the area for 50 years to house the 100-plus interns it sends to Washington, D.C. each year.
“The one limiting thing for us has been bed space, and so this building not only is going to allow us to plant a permanent flag in Washington, D.C., like many of our counterparts, but it’s also going to allow us to open up the program and give even more students an opportunity to do one of these internships,” Perry said.
A permanent residence in the nation’s capital puts the U. in good company with peer schools from the Association of American Universities, he said.
“Our vision is that this new addition becomes a treasured home for University of Utah interns, faculty and alumni living in or visiting the Washington, D.C., area,” he said.
The purchase was made possible through the generosity of private donors and favorable terms from the Mathematical Association of America, Perry said.
The property has served as the association’s headquarters for staff, members and the broader mathematical science community since 1978. It also was the convening space for the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics and Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences.
“We are delighted that the University of Utah will be able to make use of this majestic building,” said Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA. “It’s encouraging to know that the building remains committed to education, enabling students to build a better future, which furthers MAA’s vision.”
The property was the former residence of Charles Evans Hughes, who in addition to serving on the Supreme Court, was the 36th governor of New York and a secretary of state, Perry said.
Since 1965, the Hinckley Institute’s program has provided more than 100 students annually with full-time, paid internships in a variety of government institutions, public advocacy groups and consulting firms.
According to Matt Sandgren, executive director of the Hatch Foundation, Hatch sponsored more than 2,000 interns during his Senate service, giving them their first experience in Washington and helping them launch careers in both the public and private sectors.
“With the establishment of the Orrin G. Hatch Center, we will carry on the senator’s legacy by providing a living-learning center in the heart of our nation’s capital that will be home to thousands of students for decades to come. This is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to helping others, especially those in the rising generation,” Sandgren said.
In a statement, Hatch said he entered public service to help people who could not help themselves and to expand economic opportunity for all.
“I sought to achieve this goal through legislation, but also by building a robust internship program that would give young Americans the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in Washington. Over the years, these interns went on to become soldiers, federal judges, educators, business leaders and public officeholders themselves.
“I knew I wanted to extend the same opportunities to the next generation, which is why the Hatch Foundation partnered with the University of Utah to establish the Orrin G. Hatch Center in Washington, D.C. It’s a tremendous honor to have the university’s D.C. campus named after me, and I want to thank everyone involved who made this possible.”