Maddy Institute names new executive director

Blake Zante takes leadership of the institute as it expands its collaboration with the other universities in the Central Valley.

Blake Zante has been named as the next executive director of the Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at Fresno State. 

Zante, a staffer for Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy, was a former student body president at the university and an alumnus of the Maddy Institute Legislative Intern Scholar Program. 


The big picture: The position opened up after longtime executive director Mark Keppler retired. 

  • Keppler led the Maddy Institute – which provides nonpartisan and fact-driven analysis of public policy issues – for 19 years and stepped down to hand the leadership off to a new director as the institute implements a new collaborative plan with UC Merced, CSU Bakersfield and CSU Stanislaus. 
  • Zante will oversee the management of the institute, which includes coordinating its intern programs, increasing participating in the democratic process and producing and hosting public affairs programs. 

What they’re saying: Zante said in a statement that the experience he gained as a Maddy intern played a significant role in his career and professional development. 

  • “I look forward to helping train the San Joaquin Valley’s next generation of public servants, strengthening the cooperative relationship among the Valley’s four public universities, fortifying our role as a thought leader on issues impacting the prosperity of our Valley, and cultivating deeper partnerships from Modesto to Bakersfield,” Zante said. 
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