Project Pericles

 Project Pericles is deeply saddened
by the loss of our founder and Chair Emeritus,
Eugene M. Lang

Commentators often described Mr. Lang as the "most creative philanthropist in America." The combination of entrepreneurial instincts and creative imagination that fueled his diverse business ventures around the world characterized his philanthropic ventures as well. He initiated education, health and arts enterprises that are recognized for their ingenuity and transformational accomplishments. The recipient of many honors, he was deeply honored to receive the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Bill Clinton. President George H.W. Bush also designated him as a "Point of Light." In 2008, the National Conference on Citizenship named him "Citizen of the Year."

Mr. Lang was a visionary expressing concern about our democracy, civic engagement, and social responsibility long before it was fashionable. From its inception in 2001, Mr. Lang's leadership, passion, and support enabled Project Pericles to grow and thrive while pursuing its mission of promoting civic engagement.

In 1999, Lang wrote "The philosophy of liberal arts is the philosophy of a democratic society in which citizenship, social responsibility, and community are inseparable. An educated citizenry is the essential instrument for promoting responsible social action and community well-being" ("Distinctively American: The Residential Liberal Arts Colleges," Daedalus, Winter).

Under his guidance, Project Pericles developed many of its signature initiatives including the Civic Engagement Course (CEC) Program™, Debating for Democracy (D4D)™, and Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™. These programs reach thousands of college students every year. 

In lieu of flowers, the Lang Family suggests contributions to Project Pericles of any of the many organizations Mr. Lang supported.

Mr. Lang's obituary in The New York Times is available here.

Advocate. Facilitate. Inspire.

Project Pericles is a vibrant consortium of colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement within higher education.Building on the innovative vision of Eugene M. Lang, Project Pericles works in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.The national office of Project Pericles collaborates with Periclean colleges and universities to encourage faculty to incorporate civic engagement and social responsibility into the curriculum, and to empower students as effective advocates and leaders. Our research projects and publications foster greater awareness within higher education about the value and importance of civic engagement.

Periclean Programs

Recent News and Updates

March 30-31, 2017 -- Students arrive for 
2017 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ National Conference

It had a series of engaging panels and interactive workshops with representatives from many non-profits and media organizations on the forefront of social change. They provided students with concrete steps to move their policy or social issue forward. Topics ranged from "Social Action" to "Mobilization and Movements" to "Media, Political Engagement," to "Reporting in an Age of Partisanship" to "The Role of Non-Profits in our Democracy." Additionally, students took tours of New York non-profits to see how they work on issues they care about, such as cultural heritage and immigration, racial and economic justice, and healthy families and urban farming.


See more images of the conference....

One fo the most significant movements of the conference is the Legislative Hearing, which was held on Thursday afternoon. All students attending the conference wrote a Letter to an Elected Official, but five finalist teams from our annual competition presented their letter to a legislative committee. Our judges this year were Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and former U.S. Under Secretary of Education; Ruth Messinger, Global Ambassador and former CEO/President of American Jewish World Service and former Manhattan Borough President of Manhattan; and Constance Berry Newman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

The letters by our five finalist teams:

Berea College, "A Letter in Support of the Safe Drinking Water Act (H.R. 417) and an Amendment to Require the Improvement of Consumer Confidence Reports and Stabilize Funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund" to Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) by Danielle Graves and Kerringtan Maddox

Carleton College, "A Letter in Opposition to the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2017 (H.F. 238)" (known as the Stand Your Ground Bill) to Minnesota State Senator Rich Draheim (R) by Naomi Borowsky, Victor Huerta, Matt Thibodeau, and Allison Tucker

Pace University, "A Letter in Support of Amending the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act to Protect the Hudson and Other American Rivers from the Unwarranted Expansion of Commerce in Bakken Oil" to Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) by Rowan Lanning and Christina Thomas

Reed College, "A Letter in Support of the Safe Transfer Act" (would require post-secondary institutions to disclose sex offenses on students' transcripts) to Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) by Leilani Ganser and Sonya Morud

Swarthmore College, "A Letter in Support of Funding Online Access to College Courses for Rural Pennsylvania High School Students" to Pennsylvania State Representative Leanne Kruger-Braneky (D) by Elizabeth Balch-Crystal and Charles Williamson

This year's D4D National Conference is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and The Eugene M. Lang Foundation.

Read Our Newest White Paper
Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement:
Five Approaches to Institutionalizing Civic Engagement

The white paper documents the accomplishments of 26 participating colleges and universities as part of Project Pericles' three-year initiative to promote a more intentional approach to civic engagement that prioritizes coherent program design and the diffusion of civic engagement throughout the undergraduate experience.

Research reveals five basic approaches to organizing curricular and co-curricular programming for civic engagement: Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility Requirements, Civic Scholars Programs, Pathway Approaches, Certificates, and Entrepreneurial/Open Choice Models.

It discusses how a mapping/survey of the civic engagement curriculum can serve as a powerful catalyst for change on campus and shares other insights from the initiative.

The White Paper and the Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement Initiative were supported by The Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation.

Multicampus Research Project on Student Well-being and Civic Engagement
Led by Project Pericles

Project Pericles and its collaborators commenced work this spring on a multi-campus research project that examines the impact of civic engagement on student well-being. Bates College, Goucher College, Hendrix College, and Pitzer College are collaborating on the study supported by Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP).



Project Pericles Needs Your Support

Please consider making a generous contribution so we can continue our work encouraging tomorrow's engaged citizens: Donate today! Also, sign-up for the Project Pericles e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our projects and events, and to hear about the amazing work of our Periclean colleges and universities: The Periclean Progress E-Newsletter.