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Ambassador-in-Residence

Terry Branstad, former U.S. Ambassador to China and Governor of Iowa, is the Ambassador-in-Residence at Drake University.

Branstad is a partner with the Branstad Churchill Group, LLC, an international consulting firm that provides advice, guidance and solutions to organizations, corporate leaders and investors seeking to navigate the complexities associated with conducting business in China and the United States. He and his former Chief of Staff at the United States Embassy in Beijing, Steve Churchill, launched the firm in 2021.

Branstad holds the record for being the longest-serving governor in American history (1983-99, 2011-17) and was appointed ambassador to China (2017-20) in part due to his long-standing relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Formerly, Branstad served as president of Des Moines University (2003-09) and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa (1979-83). In 1972, while attending Drake Law School, he decided to run for the Iowa House of Representatives, where he served in from 1973-79. He is quick to point out that he selected blue and white for his campaign colors as a tribute to Drake University.

Branstad’s engagement on campus complements plans to create a new Ron and Jane Olson Institute for Public Democracy at Drake University, an interdisciplinary center focused on renewing a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. More information on the Ron and Jane Olson Institute for Public Democracy is available at ​​theones.drake.edu.

Branstad is available to meet with Drake students, faculty, staff, and clubs and will participate with lectures in a variety of classes each semester (Schedule a meeting by clicking here). In addition, the ambassador will host an annual symposium on U.S. relations with China, where he will bring high ranking government officials and thought leaders to campus. 

“I am looking forward to engaging with the Drake community.  It will bring me tremendous joy to pass on my experiences and learn from the students as we engage in discussions of ideas.  I owe a great debt of gratitude to my alma mater - and am pleased to do my part to enrich the academic experience of the students Drake serves.”

—Terry Branstad, ambassador-in-residence at Drake University

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