Centre president joins coalition for civic preparedness

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Centre President Milton C. Moreland joins 70 college presidents to advance civic preparedness

˿Ƶ President Milton C. Moreland is joining 70 other college presidents of diverse institutions from across the country to advance higher education’s pivotal role in preparing students to be engaged citizens and to uphold free expression on campus.

Through , a unique consortium designed by the presidents and convened by the , participating presidents are dedicated to preparing the next generation of well-informed, productively engaged and committed citizens; defending free expression, civil discourse and critical inquiry as essential civic norms; and increasing thoughtful engagement and better understanding by students for the effective functioning of our democracy. The consortium was first announced with 15 members in August 2023. 

“I’m happy to join the College Presidents for Civic Preparedness to affirm the College’s commitment to preparing students for thoughtful engagement in our democracy,” Moreland said. “At Centre, a liberal arts and sciences education helps prepare students to think critically and share ideas as engaged citizens.”

Participating presidents will take campus-specific and collective action, reflecting three shared :

  • Educating for democracy is central to our mission. 
  • We will prepare our students for a vibrant, diverse and contentious society. 
  • We will protect and defend free inquiry. 

Taken together, these commitments embrace both free speech and diversity, two values often pitted against each other, by instead emphasizing meaningful engagement and inquiry with different voices and viewpoints. The commitments stress diversity as a strength of both American democracy and campus life and affirm the truth-seeking role of higher education through curiosity and inquiry. They also enable campus leaders to take substantive action to promote democratic engagement among students, with public accountability for progress through publication of an annual impact report. 

Centre’s Office for Civic and Community Engagement provides opportunities for students to get involved, from trips to the state capitol to local service opportunities. Notably, Centre has been recognized by the Campus Vote Project and NASPA for efforts encouraging students to register and vote.

“Centre students can travel to Frankfort to learn from elected officials about policymaking, vote in their first presidential election or meet an inspiring convocation speaker that changed their career trajectory. Still, these experiences are small compared to the day-to-day commitment that Centre staff, professors and community partners have to the civic learning of our students,” said Nathan Whitlock, assistant director of civic and community engagement at the College. “Everyone at Centre has a hand in the work of sustaining an environment that values democracy, diversity, and free and open inquiry.”

“Higher education has a responsibility to provide students with critical civic skills and knowledge to participate effectively in our constitutional democracy,” said Rajiv Vinnakota, president of the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, a nonprofit that cultivates talent, ideas and networks that develop young people as effective, lifelong citizens. “College campuses are among the most diverse spaces in our country, and college is an important time for students to develop the habits, practices and norms to live in a multicultural and interconnected democracy. Doing so can create a ripple effect, making young people more optimistic and increasingly committed about their future and our nation.”