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Campus Compact > Presidents’ Resources > Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education

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Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education

As presidents of colleges and universities, both private and public, large and small, two-year and four-year, we challenge higher education to re-examine its public purposes and its commitments to the democratic ideal. We also challenge higher education to become engaged, through actions and teaching, with its communities. We have a fundamental task to renew our role as agents of our democracy… Download the full Declaration.

About the Declaration

The Presidents’ Declaration was drafted in 1999 by Thomas Ehrlich, senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and president emeritus of Indiana University, and Elizabeth Hollander, then executive director of Campus Compact, with input from a distinguished Presidents’ Leadership Colloquium Committee composed of Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard University; Dolores Cross, president of Morris Brown College; John DiBiaggio, president of Tufts University; Claire Gaudiani, president of Connecticut College; Stanley Ikenberry, president of the American Council on Education; Donald Kennedy, president emeritus of Stanford University; Charles Knapp, past president of the Aspen Institute; Edward A. Malloy, president of the University of Notre Dame; Frank Newman, president of the Education Commission of the States; and Eduardo Padron, president of Miami-Dade College.

We are deeply indebted to the drafters of the Wingspread Declaration on Renewing the Civic Mission of the American Research University crafted by Harry Boyte of the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and Elizabeth Hollander, with the commentary of a distinguished group of scholars, administrators, and others. Many ideas and some of the language have been used here, with the authors’ permission.

Sign the declaration

To view the list of signatories and to add your campus to the list, click here.

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Over the past 20 years, we've seen an increase in community service and civic engagement, thanks in large part to Campus Compact."

-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), former director of The Institute of Politics, Harvard University