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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

History of Tisch College

Tisch College is heir to a rich tradition that dates back to the Universalists’ founding of Tufts in 1852 and to their belief that higher education could be a force for good in the world.

A century after its founding, the university formalized this commitment to civic learning and engagement. In 1954, Tufts created the Center for Civic Education, later renamed the Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs.

In the following decades, the Lincoln Filene Center played a vital role in the growing movement to study and strengthen civic life. The center organized gatherings like the National Conference on Citizen Participation and the National Conference on Civic Renewal. It undertook research and published scholarly work on civic engagement.

In 1999, recognizing the importance of civic engagement toits academic mission, Tufts signed a Declaration of Purpose and created the University College of Citizenship and Public Service.

In 2006, thanks to extraordinary philanthropy from Jonathan Tisch, A76, the University College was renamed the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. In 2016, the name was updated to the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life to better capture the nature of our work and the challenges ahead.

Over the past 15 years, Tisch College has evolved into a vibrant platform for local and global partnerships, for myriad student learning and service opportunities, and for groundbreaking research. We are informed and inspired by past accomplishments, and we seek to build on them as we chart the future direction of the college.

Chronology

1945 Living Flame Memorial Foundation created.
1948 The Edward A. Filene Good Will Fund, Inc. provides a substantial contribution enabling the organization of the Civic Education Project.
1950 Living Flame Memorial Foundation and the Civic Education Project start collaborating.
1951 The Living Flame Memorial Foundation changes its name to the Civic Education Foundation.
1952 The Edward A. Filene Good Will Fund, Inc. funds the publication of the report “Education for Citizenship” and its distribution to 20,000 educational leaders throughout the country.
1954 At Tufts President Nils Wessell’s invitation, the Civic Education Project is moved from Cambridge to Tufts to become the “Tufts College Center for Civic Education.”
1955 The “Lincoln and Therese Filene Professorship in Citizenship and Public Affairs” is endowed by the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation.
1957 Franklin Patterson is appointed to be the first director of the Lincoln Filene Center.
1958 The Lincoln Filene Center works with Tufts student Richard Dorsay to create the Leonard Carmichael Society. It is housed at the Center until 1965 and returns to the building in 2003.
1961 The “Tufts College Center for Civic Education” becomes the Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs.
1963 The Lincoln Filene Center building is completed.
1966 John Gibson, Tufts Government Department, becomes the second director of the Lincoln Filene Center.
1967 Burton Hallowell becomes the ninth president of Tufts.
1974 Francis Duehay becomes the third Filene Center director.
1976 Jean Mayer becomes the tenth president of Tufts.
1978 Stuart Langton becomes the fourth director of the Lincoln Filene Center.
1982 The Weston Howland, Jr. Award for Civic Leadership is created.
1989 Lincoln Filene Center merges with Tufts University. The Civic Education Foundation is dissolved. The Board of the Civic Education Foundation becomes an advisory committee for the Center.
1990 Rob Hollister, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, is appointed to be the fifth director of the Lincoln Filene Center.
1992 John DiBiaggio becomes the eleventh president of Tufts.
1999 Badi Foster becomes the sixth Lincoln Filene Center director. The University College of Citizenship and Public Service (University College) is created by the Tufts Trustees.
2001 Lawrence S. Bacow becomes the eleventh president of Tufts.
2002 Rob Hollister is first dean of the University College. Under the direction of Hollister, the Lincoln Filene Center becomes a division of the University College. Tufts Trustees name Hollister the first chair holder of the newly created the John DiBiaggio Chair in Citizenship and Public Service.
2006 The University College is renamed the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.
2011 Rob Hollister steps down as Dean of Tisch College and Nancy Wilson takes over as Dean ad interim.
2014 Alan D. Solomont, former United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, becomes Dean of Tisch College.
2016 The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service is renamed the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.