Project Pericles

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

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 or any of the many organizations Mr. Lang supported. 

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

Recent News and Updates

Just Out! Our Spring Newsletter Highlights
Our D4D National Conference and Students' Advocacy Campaigns

Representing the mission of Project Pericles in action - the conference provided a forum to share ideas and advocate for issues of critical social and political concern. The conference was, "Democracy in action," commented Ryan Perez, Macalester College ('20), "a gathering of so many civically-engaged individuals in one room." Student leaders were joined by college presidents; faculty; staff; nonprofit activists; foundation, government, and community leaders; and members of the media

"I can't wait to get out and mobilize my campus for environmental issues!"- Alyssa Bueno, Skidmore College ('18)

"The most valuable part of the national conference was the interaction with people from other colleges. This is an amazing tool for organizing [and it] kindles hope in each participant to know that so many people exist that are invested in creating social change." - James Williams, Goucher College ('19)



Project Pericles designed the D4D National Conference to provide students with concrete steps they can take to move the issues they care about forward. Prior to the March 30-31 conference, all student attendees, in teams, wrote Letters to an Elected Official, on pressing policy issues. These were mailed to elected officials across the country and submitted to Project Pericles. Our judges and reviewers commented on how well argued and written the letters were.

The Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ Legislative Hearing is a highlight of the conference. Prior to the conference, a panel of judges with significant legislative experience selected five letters from the letters submitted by more than 70 student teams from Periclean campuses. The letters proposed innovative solutions to issues including education, immigration, and the environment; and were sent to elected officials across the United States. The five teams of students responsible for the winning letters then presented at the Legislative Hearing.

Teams from Berea College, Carleton College, Pace University, Reed College, and Swarthmore College discussed their public policy proposals with a panel of former government officials: Constance Berry Newman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and former U.S. Under Secretary of Education; and Ruth Messinger, Global Ambassador and former CEO/President of American Jewish World Service and former Manhattan Borough President.

After writing superb letters, the teams faced stiff questioning about the pros and cons of their policy recommendations. The teams did an exceptional job defending their positions.

Pace University won the Letters to an Elected Official Competition for "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 ('18) and Christina Thomas ('19).

Check out the 2017 D4D Legislative Hearing Program or more details on the hearing itself, the committee, and the winning teams.

Passing of William J. Taggart, Interim President of Morehouse College

It is with great sadness that we share the news that William J. "Bill" Taggart, Interim President of Morehouse College, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Provost Michael Hodge will serve as Acting President until a new Interim President is named by the Board of Trustees. We express our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the Morehouse College community for this loss.

To learn more about Bill Taggart's legacy and his many accomplishments, please refer to the Morehouse College news release.

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.


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.