Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

University of Wisconsin–Madison alum Emanuel "Manny" Lerner established the John Gaus Public Service Fund in 1999 to honor Gaus' memory. The fund provides support for students planning a career in public service, an ideal that Gaus' life exemplified. Gaus was one of the first political scientists to combine practice in government with teaching and research. Once a member of the University of Wisconsin Department of Political Science faculty, he was an influential expert in public administration and American politics in the 1930s and 1940s. Gaus developed the interdisciplinary regional planning program the university established in 1944. According to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning's history, Gaus "believed that, as the role of government became greater in society, it was necessary to try to improve the quality of public decision-making. One mechanism for doing this was to improve the quality of advice provided to decision-makers by training better staff planners. He viewed the planner as a generalist; and thought that an interdisciplinary program based primarily in the social sciences would be the most suitable training mechanism because staff planners should have a broad view of issues and an understanding of their political, economic and social contexts." Gaus left the University of Wisconsin for Harvard University in 1947.

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