To honor the legacy of Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin’s longest serving governor, legislators announced Tuesday the creation of a leadership center at the University of Wisconsin.

At the Tuesday news conference, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the mission of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership will be to facilitate research and leadership training.

“By making sure we have the Tommy G. Thomspon center, we will continue our efforts to have long-term bipartisan solutions that bring the best in academia together with the best in government to find long-term solutions that continue to move Wisconsin forward,” Vos said.

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The state of Wisconsin will commit public funds, but the private sector is asked to participate, Vos said. Over time, the center will be a mix of private and public funds.

The proposal for the center, which will be taken up by the Joint Committee on Finance, allocates $1.5 million for each year of the biennium, Vos said in a statement. A portion of the funds will be accessible to other schools in the UW System and used to bring in speakers and foster debate.

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“On our college campuses, we need to hear more than just one side of the debate; we need to ensure every voice is heard,” Vos said. “This center will promote an even more rigorous debate of current issues.”

Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement she expects the center to make contributions to public policy and leadership on both the state and national level. Blank said Thompson’s legacy will bring researchers and state policy makers together in a way that will benefit Wisconsinites.

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“Just as he did during his time as governor, the Tommy G. Thompson Center will be committed to bringing people together to develop policy reforms that improve public leadership and the practices of American government,” Blank said.

Gov. Scott Walker said the center is a fitting tribute to a “Wisconsin legend,” who served the state from 1987 to 2001.

The center is expected to open in the fall.