Our Commitment to Strengthening Democracy

President’s Letter

From the President,

From the President

Rising authoritarianism. Disinformation. Voter suppression and political violence. Unrelenting polarization. The crumbling of civil discourse and other norms. These threats to our democracy and to other democracies around the world are perilous—and they show no signs of abating.

Fortunately, colleges and universities across the country are reasserting the civic purpose of higher education, and Wellesley is proudly among them. In spite of the attacks on higher education in recent years, I’ve never believed more strongly in its value as an inherent public good and our responsibility to be one of democracy’s most important stewards. It’s why I joined a group of leaders of diverse higher education institutions, convened by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, to advance the principles of critical inquiry and civil discourse. It’s why my convocation address this fall called on students to reflect on their roles as citizens in a pluralistic society and how Wellesley helps prepare them for that responsibility. And, of course, it’s why for nearly 150 years we have remained committed to educating future leaders and changemakers.

Now, a new initiative at Wellesley will help us deepen that commitment in ways that meet this moment.

We are proud to announce that this spring, we launch the Hillary Rodham Clinton Center, inspired by the lifetime of service and leadership of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69. The HRC Center will help Wellesley students develop the skills active citizenship demands and prepare them to confront real world challenges.

This important work has already begun. At the end of August, 30 rising sophomores spent three days participating in the Civic Action Lab, an immersive experience that involved the study and practice of listening and learning across difference and lessons in how to build an inclusive community. As the center evolves, this lab will be part of the Clinton Fellows program, which will offer all sophomores a full-year experience that focuses on skill building and leadership development, guided by scholars from Wellesley and beyond as well as visiting changemakers.

The center will also serve as a hub for faculty research and collaboration and will bring together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from around the world to seek solutions to global challenges, with a particular focus on gender equality and democracy.

To introduce the center and its exciting mission to the world, in April 2024 we will host an inaugural summit, “Renewing Democracy: Women Leading the Way.” Women who are among the most influential scholars, leaders, and changemakers will join students, faculty, and staff to explore strategies for renewing democracy in the U.S. and abroad. As a centerpiece of the HRC Center, an annual summit will be part of our ongoing mission to deepen Wellesley’s global engagement.

During this time of great challenges, Wellesley is doubling down on our commitment to strengthening democracy. With the launch of the HRC Center, the continued excellence of programs like the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs, and our remarkable liberal arts education, we are preparing our students to become the citizen-leaders our democracy, and our world, is waiting for.

As Secretary Clinton wrote recently in the Atlantic, “We must work together to restitch our unraveling social fabric, and to rebuild Americans’ trust in one another, our democracy, and our shared future” and move beyond “the mud of politics and polarization [to find] something hard and true: a foundation of values and aspirations that bind us together as Americans. That’s something to build on.”

You Might Like
  • President
    While the past year has brought historic challenges, it has also been a spur to action, calling on Wellesley—and on each of us—to step into our full power.More
  • Students climb a rope structure during a trust exercise.
    As part of the College’s new three-day immersive Civic Action Lab in August, 30 sophomores traveled to Thompson Island in Boston Harbor and participated in team building exercises.More
  • President
    In August 2019, we began work on a strategic plan for Wellesley College, the first in recent history. While Wellesley’s longstanding mission—to provide an excellent education to women who will make a difference—is as crucial...More

Post a CommentView Full Policy

We ask that those who engage in Wellesley magazine's online community act with honesty, integrity, and respect. (Remember the honor code, alums?) We reserve the right to remove comments by impersonators or comments that are not civil and relevant to the subject at hand. By posting here, you are permitting Wellesley magazine to edit and republish your comment in all media. Please remember that all posts are public.

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.