Vanderbilt University Chancellor Daniel Diermeier met with members of Congress during a recent visit to Washington, D.C., to advocate for federal investments in research and higher education. Facilitated by the Office of Federal Relations, Diermeier met with several Republican members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Bill Hagerty, BA’81, JD’84, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Rep. David Kustoff.
Diermeier urged Congress to robustly fund federal research and student aid programs, which are vital to our nation’s economic competitiveness and national security. He also highlighted Vanderbilt’s leading role in building the innovation ecosystem in Tennessee, particularly in the automotive industry.
After the meetings, Diermeier hosted a congressional reception in the U.S. Capitol honoring members of the Tennessee congressional delegation. The event was also part of the university’s Sesquicentennial celebration.
“Vanderbilt University is deeply proud of our role in the long-standing partnership between the federal government and America’s leading research universities, especially in this, our sesquicentennial year,” Diermeier said at the reception. “We are leading the way in everything from discovering new drugs and technologies to detect outbreaks and cure disease, to improving outcomes for students with learning disabilities, to forging partnerships with the U.S. military to help solve tactical problems, support soldier missions and advance strategic capabilities to enhance our national security. I was thrilled to connect with members of Congress on how support provided by federal funding enables research universities like ours to ask the bold questions that lead to discovery—and to take on the urgent and complex challenges facing our society.”
A signature event on Capitol Hill, Vanderbilt’s congressional reception brings together the university’s senior leadership with members and staff from the Tennessee congressional delegation, Vanderbilt alumni working on Capitol Hill, and other strategic partners for the university’s government relations work in Washington. Also attending were Vanderbilt alumni, Arkansas Republican Rep. French Hill, BS’79, and Louisiana Republican Sen. John Neely Kennedy, BA’73.
It is also an opportunity to honor new members of the Tennessee congressional delegation. This year’s event honored Hagerty and Rep. Diana Harshbarger, who came to Congress two years ago as well as Rep. Andy Ogles, who is in his first term. There was no reception in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m thrilled that we were able to resume our long-standing tradition of welcoming and honoring new members of the Tennessee congressional delegation,” said Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations Nathan Green. “We’re fortunate to have members of the delegation who are willing to listen to Vanderbilt and work with us to advance our priorities.”
“Events like our congressional reception provide crucial touchpoints for members of the delegation to the university,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations Christina West added. “Connecting members to the university’s leadership affords them the opportunity to hear firsthand about institutional priorities such as federal support for research and student aid.”