Tufts University commemorates JFK centennial with celebration of citizen service

Tisch College explores JFK's legacy with panel of accomplished activists and leaders in the national service movement
JFK Tufts
President John F. Kennedy, pictured with Tufts Dean Nils Wessel (right), received an honorary degree from Tufts University in 1954 (Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University)
October 31, 2017

For More Information or to Request a Photo from this News Release, Contact:

Robin Smyton

617.627.5392

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Oct. 31, 2017) – The Tisch College of  Civic Life at Tufts University will  explore President John F. Kennedy's legacy of public service with a panel  on the impact his administration had on the national service movement today.  The gathering, titled "JFK's Legacy of Citizen Service Today," will be held Thurs, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Cabot Intercultural Center in ASEAN Auditorium on Tufts'  Medford/Somerville campus.

This event is part of the JFK100 Centennial Celebration, a year-long series of special events and initiatives in Boston and across the country to celebrate the 100th anniversary of President Kennedy's birth.

The panel led by Diane Ryan, Tisch College associate dean and retired colonel in the U.S. Army, will discuss the importance of national service and how the movement has evolved in the years since President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps and inspired a generation to serve. The event will be livestreamed on tischcollege.tufts.edu.

Panelists include:

  • Rob Gordon, president of Be The Change, Inc., which connects social change organizations with similar interests so they can collaborate towards their shared goals. Gordon previously served in the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations;
  • Dorothy Stoneman, a prominent civil rights activist and the founder and former President of YouthBuild, which teaches construction skills to low-income young people so they can help build affordable housing and community centers. Stoneman is a recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship; and
  • John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises, which helps young people succeed by focusing on their education and civic growth. Bridgeland is also former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Freedom Corps under President George W. Bush, and a former member of the White House Council for Community Solutions under President Barack Obama. 

This is event is free and open to the public. Online registration is available at https://tischcollege.tufts.edu/content/distinguished-speaker-series-jfks-legacy-citizen-service. Members of the news media who would like to attend should contact Robin Smyton or Kalimah Knight for a reserved seat.

"President Kennedy challenged a generation of young people to ask what they could do for their country. In many ways, you can see that legacy of citizen service here at Tufts, with our long-standing commitment to volunteering, community work and civic engagement among our students, alumni and faculty," said Alan Solomont, dean of Tisch College. "Innovative programs like Tisch College's Tufts 1+4 program are exploring what service looks like for young people today, as Tufts seeks to provide the very best civic education in the world."

President Kennedy received an honorary degree from Tufts in 1954, when he was serving in the U.S. Senate.

Nov. 2 is a particularly significant anniversary for President Kennedy's service legacy. In a San Francisco campaign speech on Nov. 2, 1960, President Kennedy first proposed "a peace corps of talented men and women" who would dedicate a period of service to the progress of developing nations. The response to the speech was so popular that President Kennedy created the Peace Corps in his first 100 days in office. Since 1961, about 200,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries.

Tufts consistently ranks highly among universities with alumni serving in the Peace Corps. Currently, 15 Tufts alumni are serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 14 countries across five continents.

This event is hosted by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series with support from Tufts First-Year Orientation CommUnity Service (FOCUS) and the Leonard Carmichael Society at Tufts University. Past guests of the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Tim Kaine, Gov. Charlie Baker, NBC News broadcaster Lester Holt and, most recently, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro.

The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life focuses on preparing students to tackle the most pressing challenges to democratic and civic life, and on conducting research in the emerging field of civic studies.

 

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About Tufts University

Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.