Longtime political analyst and professor Andrew Downs has stepped down as director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, Downs told The Journal Gazette on Monday.
Downs worked at Purdue University Fort Wayne for the past 20 years. His last day was July 31.
He led the center named after his father, Mike Downs, a political science professor who worked at what was then IPFW for more than three decades before his death in 2001.
Andrew Downs, 53, has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s in public affairs from IPFW, a master’s degree in sociology from Ball State University and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Notre Dame.
After working as campaign manager and later as chief of staff for former Mayor Graham Richard, Andrew Downs started work at the former IPFW in 2002. For the last two decades, he has offered political insight and analysis on issues in Fort Wayne and across the state.
“I enjoyed the work at PFW; I think it’s incredibly valuable,” Downs said. “I hope to continue to work with them in some capacity down the road, but it was time to look for something new.”
Michael Wolf, chair of PFW’s Department of Political Science, is now serving as the Center’s acting director. Going forward, the university plans to reach out to scholars around the state with the goal of providing the same commentary and expertise Downs has offered for the past 20 years.
During his time as director of the Mike Downs Center, Wolf said, Downs was interviewed more than 2,000 times, by media outlets including the New York Times, the BBC and Newsweek.
Downs remains an emeritus faculty member at PFW.
As for future plans, Downs said he doesn’t know where he’ll work next.
“For now, I hope to do some research, writing, strategizing and problem solving for organizations in the area,” Downs said in an email.
Wolf said he can’t use enough superlatives to describe Downs’ contributions to the school and that his contributions to research, teaching and services were “unrivaled.”
“He’s been a great friend and colleague to me and to everyone,” Wolf said. “He’s been devoted to the university.”