Quotes from presidential speeches or articles

November 17, 2006

“[I] believe that universities have a responsibility to use knowledge to serve humanity. Effective engagement begins right here at home. We cherish our relationships with our neighbors, relationships that have strengthened Penn academically while increasing the vitality of West Philadelphia.”

– Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania
(from her inaugural address, October, 2004)

“With all the daunting challenges that this country is facing at home and abroad, our democracy needs more deliberation and thoughtful debate and we need more engaged citizens who inform themselves of the issues and vote their informed preferences. Nothing would make me prouder of being Penn’s president than to see Penn students begin to turn the tide of recent history from impoverished polemics and political apathy to mutually respectful deliberation and active engagement.”

– Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania
(from an op ed piece in the Daily Pennsylvanian, September 8, 2004)

“How and what do we do in higher education to return to our public purpose and civic mission? First, higher education must walk its talk. We must exercise citizenship in our own communities a higher education institution, public or private, is no different than a corporation in that it is a citizen of its community, and one of its civic responsibilities is to use its resources and research capacity to improve living at the local level—socially, culturally, as well as economically.

The second thing that higher education can do is to provide students with the opportunities to become civically engaged. We know from our experience that concentration on a concrete problem leads students to political engagement. We know that connecting studies with problem-solving service in the community deepens, complicates, and challenges students’ learning. It turns them into knowledge producers, not just knowledge consumers. They become citizen scholars who renew our democratic society.”

– Toni Murdock, President, Antioch University Seattle
(from a speech to graduating high school seniors, May 2004)

“Is it not our responsibility, regardless of the academic field in which we have been trained, to make every effort to produce a more decent and educated electorate, a more humble and sincere political leadership, a morally alert and concerned citizenry?”

– Robert A. Corrigan, President, San Francisco State University
(from his annual address to faculty, August 2004)

“I have hopes about your readiness for the world before you walk across this stage in four years to receive your diploma. I expect that you will be prepared to be a participating citizen in a 21st century democratic society. An educated person must know something about science, and government, and philosophy to be a good citizen. The liberal arts will teach you to challenge assumptions, to question, and to analyze critically talents which are fundamental to an educated citizenry.”

– Leo M. Lambert, President, Elon University
(from his remarks at the New Student Convocation, August 2004)

“We in higher education can ill afford to be seen as islands of prosperity in a sea of despair. We have to demonstrate that we’re engaged in the social problems and issues of the community where we reside.”

– Leo M. Lambert, President, Elon University
(in an interview for Campus Compact’s newsletter, March 2010)

“Community partners are a gigantic piece of the equation in service-learning, they provide a lot of the actual teaching of our students in the field.”

– Leo M. Lambert, President, Elon University
(in an interview for Campus Compact’s newsletter, March 2010)

“Far too many of the nation’s youth distrust government, lack interest in political affairs, and view orthodox forms of political involvement as futile, pointless, a diversion from their hectic lives. Many who are passionately involved in grassroots activities and volunteer commitments fail to see the links that connect those passions to mainstream electoral politics. A healthy democracy cannot afford politics to become taboo or irrelevant, and for that reason I’m very encouraged by the efforts of CPLA [Committee for Political and Legislative Action] and other student groups to get out the vote. All of us should help them in every way we can.”

– Diana Chapman Walsh, President, Wellesley College
(from her Opening Convocation speech, September 2004)

“Our graduates leave prepared for a world that hungers for values-based, ethical leadership that is, first and foremost, modeled by our faculty and community partners… That role was affirmed by our Board in its strategic plan to build a much closer alliance with the community–with the business community, with the public sector, with community-based organizations, and, as well, with a view to the Westside of the spire.”

– Tessa Pollack, President, Our Lady of the Lake University
(from her remarks at a Harvard Business School meeting, October 2002)

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