Building Robust & Inclusive Democracy

Dayna L. Cunningham, Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

Dayna Cunningham speaks in front of background with Johnathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life Logo

Dayna Cunningham is the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The only university-wide college of its kind, Tisch College develops new knowledge to understand the challenges of democracy and how to sustain it, trains the next generation of civic leaders, and co-creates research with communities to solve big and pressing problems.

Dean Cunningham has devoted her career to promoting civic participation, building community partnerships, and advocating for underrepresented communities. At Tisch College, she has articulated a bold vision for building robust, inclusive democracy for an increasingly multiracial society.

Before leading Tisch College, Dean Cunningham was the founder of Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At CoLab, she built large-scale, multi-sector development collaborations that combined sustainability, wellness, and democratic control of economies in marginalized communities. A civil rights lawyer by training, Dean Cunningham worked with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, litigating cases in Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states in the South. She has also served as associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation and program director of the ELIAS Project at MIT.

Dean Cunningham earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, a JD from New York University School of Law, and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.