Program Director, Policy Entrepreneurship and Competitions

About Ronald Gibbs

Ron Gibbs is the Program Director, Policy Entrepreneurship and Competitions at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Since 2009, he has been a Lecturer at the University, where he teaches Leadership and Public Policy-Winning in the Endgame. In addition, he continues to consult and provides strategic counsel to governments, businesses, and nonprofits. Also, he conducts executive education programs on leadership, advocacy, and crisis communications nationally and internationally.

He received a master’s degree from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, and a BA in Political Science from Drake University. He has studied at The Hague Academy of International Law, London School of Economics, and Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.

Gibbs is a nationally recognized expert in public policy. He has a track record of implementing successful public affairs and public relations campaigns. He has provided effective leadership in numerous public policy and social change areas dealing with urban and rural affairs, health care, hunger relief, diabetes education, Medicare reform, veteran's affairs, immigration, global poverty, farm bill reform, international child welfare, and human rights, among others.

He has worked in high level executive public policy positions for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, Department of Health & Human Services and National Association of Counties in DC. He was selected as a Congressional Fellow to work in the U.S. House and Senate as a legislative assistant. He has worked in high level positions for major nonprofit organizations including Feeding America and for UNICEF in New York. Gibbs was a senior vice president at Edelman and Fleishman-Hillard, two world-class public relations firms. He was a candidate for the Illinois State Senate and for the U.S. Senate from Illinois.

He established and was the founding President of the Kim Foundation to help child victims of war, which is chaired by Kim Phuc. Her photo, commonly known as the “girl in the picture”, was captured by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Nick Ut after she was running naked from her village that was napalmed during the Vietnam war. The picture is an international symbol of the impact of war on children.

Gibbs has been nationally recognized for his work in creating a broad-based coalition and spearheading passage of the legislation through Congress that established the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, one of the most visited memorials in Washington, D.C. As Jan Scruggs stated in his book, To Heal A Nation, "Ron spent many hours walking the halls of Congress. He never asked for public recognition or acclaim. His only desire was to see the 58,000 names of those soldiers killed inscribed in a place of honor." He was Army Infantry Captain and served in Vietnam.