August 15, 2023

15 College Presidents Unite to Advance Civic Preparedness Across the Country

Photo of Raj Vinnakota
Rajiv Vinnakota
Institute for Citizens & Scholars
Photo of a stately institution of higher education

As an American, one national characteristic that fills me with pride is our ability to come together, work hard, and achieve great things. This spirit is reflected in the new consortium called College Presidents for Civic Preparedness, a new initiative convened by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. The 15 college presidents of the consortium have diverse perspectives across the political spectrum, but they all agree that civic preparedness is essential in the academic experience and campus life.

Since our founding in 1945, we’ve supported visionary thinkers, scholars, and higher education leaders who are cultivating tomorrow’s empowered citizens. College Presidents for Civic Preparedness represents another exciting milestone in our legacy of promoting innovative ideas in higher education.

This initiative unites 15 college presidents committed to preparing today’s youth to be well-informed, engaged, and committed citizens. These leaders hail from four-year institutions, including large public flagship universities, Ivy-plus campuses, HBCUs, STEM-focused schools, liberal arts colleges, and faith-based institutions. Participating presidents include Roslyn Clark Artis, Benedict College; Hiram Chodosh, Claremont McKenna College; Martha Pollack, Cornell University; Lori White, DePauw University; Vincent Price, Duke University; Jonathan Alger, James Madison University; Jack DeGioia, Georgetown University; Mung Chiang, Purdue University; Grant Cornwell, Rollins College; Jonathan Holloway, Rutgers University; John Jenkins, University of Notre Dame; Joan Gabel, University of Pittsburgh; Kevin Hallock, University of Richmond; Paula Johnson, Wellesley College; and Michael Roth, Wesleyan University.

Today also marks the launch of the Campus Call for Free Expression, a flagship project designed by the presidents themselves. With the Campus Call, these leaders are coordinating individual campus activities to promote free expression, such as presidential speeches, training sessions, guest speakers, courses, and artistic endeavors. The Campus Call embraces different viewpoints, focusing on upholding and advancing the principles of free expression and critical inquiry that are crucial in preparing young people to become empowered citizens.

The list of activities is inspiring—take a look at what’s planned!

This important work wouldn’t be possible without the support from our diverse and visionary funders, including the ECMC Foundation, Einhorn Collaborative, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Lumina Foundation, One8 Foundation, and Teagle Foundation.

In the coming months, the consortium will announce more exciting new projects. Together, they aim to demonstrate how higher education contributes tangibly to our society and helps strengthen our democracy.