Q&A with the Newly Appointed Doy B. Henley Chair in American Presidential Studies
February 23, 2021
Political Science professor Dr. Lori Cox Han was recently named the inaugural Doy B. Henley Chair in American Presidential Studies, which will be housed in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Doy Henley moved to California from Illinois in the 1950s and raised a family while thriving as an entrepreneur, owning and operating several manufacturing companies. He and his wife Dee became supporters of Chapman in the 1980s, and Henley later chaired the board and received the C.C. Chapman Distinguished Service Award, the University’s highest honor, for his leadership and the couple’s philanthropy.
Dr. Han is a presidential studies scholar and author, most recently her books include Madam President?: Gender and Politics on the Road to the White House” (Lynne Rienner Publishers, March 2020) and “Advising Nixon: The White House Memos of Patrick J. Buchanan” (University Press of Kansas Publishers, Oct. 2019). She appears frequently on major news outlets as a political commentator, and participated in several Ask the Experts events focused on the 2020 election, including most recently, January 6, 2021: A Day That Will Live In Infamy?
As the Doy B. Henley Chair, she will lead scholarship and public conversation on the American presidency and its broad influence on national and global events, as well as strengthen and broaden Chapman’s growing relationship with the Nixon Library, Museum, and Foundation in Yorba Linda
Voice of Wilkinson: Congratulations on the new position. You have been at Chapman for 16 years, what does this new title/position mean to you and the University as a whole?
Lori Cox Han: I am honored to hold this inaugural chair, and I am especially grateful to Doy Henley for his gift to the university.
VoW: What do you hope American Presidential Studies will look like at Chapman?
LCH: I plan to promote a better understanding of both the American presidency as a political institution as well as those who have (and will eventually) hold the office as part of a broader dialogue related to civic engagement. Through campus events, including a speaker’s series, conferences, and research opportunities for students, I want American presidential studies at Chapman to model civil discourse at a time in our history when a more substantive understanding, beyond political personalities, is needed on the role presidents play in governing.
VoW: What research are you currently working on?
LCH: I am working on the third edition of my presidency textbook, Presidents and the American Presidency, with Oxford University Press, for a planned 2022 publication. In addition, I am continuing my research on how the state of the news industry shapes White House communication strategies. I plan to visit the George W. Bush Library in Dallas once COVID restrictions are lifted and archival research can resume. I have new documents to access related to the Bush press/communication offices from Freedom of Information Act requests I submitted in 2016.
VoW: What are your long-term goals?
LCH: Longer term, I plan to further the collaborative relationship regarding research and other opportunities for our students that Chapman currently has with the Nixon Library. I also want to explore similar opportunities with the Reagan Library. We are fortunate to have two presidential libraries in the greater Los Angeles area, and through my own research, I know firsthand how valuable these resources can be for promoting knowledge about the presidency and its role within the American constitutional system. I have had the opportunity to conduct research at all 13 presidential libraries under the auspices of NARA (Hoover through George W. Bush), and that research has animated many of my publications related to the American presidency.