About the Theme

Independent colleges and universities have remarkable track records of preparing engaged citizens and experts in fields of national priority. These institutions rely little on federal or state tax dollars yet contribute substantially to local and regional economies. Stereotypes persist of private colleges serving only affluent individuals and not the common good, yet our institutions graduate proportionally more low-income, first-generation, and other students with the greatest need for access to college. By their commitment to the liberal arts, reasoned debate, and participatory decision making, independent colleges and universities serve the needs of society. At their best, our colleges are communities in which the relentless pursuit of the truth, commitment to civility, and respect for differences prevail. Thanks to generous institutional financial aid and timely graduation rates, independent colleges provide an affordable and efficient solution to meeting the national need for more and better-qualified college graduates to serve our country and the world.

How can college presidents best lead their institutions to advance the common good? As agents of education and civic engagement, CIC presidents exercise a strong social and moral influence in their communities and in the nation as a whole. Their leadership advances public understanding of the role of independent colleges as catalysts for the common good.

CIC’s 2013 Presidents Institute—the largest annual meeting of college presidents in the country—will explore these and other issues of presidential leadership, drawing on the lessons learned by experienced presidents and on the broad perspectives of other distinguished speakers. The Institute provides a forum for candid discussion of controversial issues, opportunities to learn from experts, and time to network with colleagues who lead similar institutions.