Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier joins the Institute for Citizens & Scholars initiative, College Presidents for Civic Preparedness

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier has joined a group of university presidents leading diverse institutions from across the country in a new initiative to address civic engagement and promote civil discourse on college campuses and beyond. The College Presidents for Civic Preparedness, a new initiative convened by The Institute for Citizens and Scholars, aims to leverage collective wisdom and collaborative strategies to cultivate a new generation of empowered, democratic-minded citizens.   

Diermeier joins 25 leaders of various four-year universities, representing a broad spectrum of academic environments. These institutions include major public universities, Ivy-plus campuses, historically Black colleges and universities, science and technology-focused universities, liberal arts colleges and faith-based institutions.  

“Free speech and civil discourse are defining values at Vanderbilt, in part because universities play such a crucial role in developing the citizens of tomorrow,” Diermeier said. “More than ever, the world needs college graduates who can engage productively with people they might not agree with. I am delighted to join College Presidents for Civic Preparedness and know that the perspectives of my fellow university leaders will help inform not only what we do at Vanderbilt, but how we as a nation prepare the next generation of workers, leaders and innovators.” 

Colleges and universities serve as unique places where individuals from different walks of life, holding varied cultural identities and ideological beliefs come together. In these academic training grounds, students grapple with the complexities of living and thriving in a democratic society marked, and drastically improved by, diversity in every way. For many, universities serve as their inaugural exposure to such a richly varied environment, offering an unparalleled opportunity to develop the essential skills and values needed to participate effectively in a multicultural, globally connected and ever-changing world. 

“We’re thrilled to add Chancellor Diermeier from Vanderbilt to our new initiative, College Presidents for Civic Preparedness,” said Rajiv Vinnakota, president of the Institute for Citizens and Scholars. “He joins a diverse coalition of college presidents—from institutions large and small, private and public—united in its commitment to ensuring students are civically well-informed, productively engaged and committed to democracy.” 

The participating presidents leading diverse campuses: 

  • Benedict College: Roslyn Clark Artis
  • Claremont McKenna College: Hiram Chodosh
  • Colorado College: L. Song Richardson
  • Cornell University: Martha E. Pollack
  • Dartmouth College: Sian Leah Beilock
  • Denison University: Adam S. Weinberg
  • DePauw University: Lori White
  • Duke University: Vincent Price
  • Georgetown University: John. J. DeGioia
  • Howard University: Ben Vinson III
  • James Madison University: Jonathan R. Alger
  • The Johns Hopkins University: Ronald J. Daniels
  • Montclair State University: Jonathan Koppell
  • Purdue University: Mung Chiang
  • Rollins College: Grant Cornwell
  • Rutgers University: Jonathan Holloway
  • Skidmore College: Marc C. Conner
  • The University of Denver: Jeremy Haefner
  • The University of Notre Dame: Rev. John I. Jenkins
  • The University of Pittsburgh: Joan Gabel
  • The University of Richmond: Kevin Hallock
  • The University of Tulsa: Brad Carson
  • Vanderbilt University: Daniel Diermeier
  • Wellesley College: Paula Johnson
  • Wesleyan University: Michael S. Roth 

The Institute for Citizens and Scholars cultivates talent, ideas and networks that develop young people as effective, lifelong citizens. We unite the left, right and center to develop breakthrough solutions that create stronger citizens in our country, and we bring these solutions to life by forming strategic partnerships with an intentionally diverse group of young people, scholars and education leaders, and civic and business leaders—including the 27,000 world-leading Fellows in our network. Together, we’re on a mission to ensure that Americans everywhere are civically well-informed, productively engaged and committed to democracy.