Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education

Note: This is the 1999 Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education. The Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors can be found here.
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.


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