15 Years of Meaningful Service & Civic Engagement

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2016
by Gwen McNamara, Communications Coordinator

As Princeton University celebrated its 250th Anniversary on Charter Day in 1996, economics professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 announced plans to form a new center for community service at Princeton University – an endeavor that would not only pay homage to the University's informal motto “Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of all nations” but strengthen and expand upon the University’s longstanding tradition of service and civic engagement.

“It will show that community service is not simply a useful add-on, a discretionary extracurricular activity, but rather an essential part of a liberal education,” Malkiel said in his Charter Day remarks. “Experiences in service to communities will not then be peripheral to the academy but rather directly connected to learning and to the full possibilities and promises of education.”

Fueled by this call to action, John Pace Jr. ’39, John C. Bogle ’51, Carl Ferenbach ’64, Peter Ochs ’65 and many other contributors joined the movement, forging a path to create the Pace Center in 2001.

"Today, we are proud to celebrate 15 years of meaningful service and civic engagement at Princeton University," said Kimberly de los Santos, Pace Center executive director. "As we focus our efforts on making civic engagement part of every student's experience here at Princeton, we invite the entire campus community to take a look back and celebrate what's ahead with us."

To start, the Pace Center and its student program leadership are making January a Month of Service, where students, staff and faculty can take part in a wide range of direct service and service learning opportunities all month long. 

In addition, the Center is inviting community partners, students, campus partners and long-time friends and supporters to come together for food, music, stories and fun at its 15th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, March 24 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at Taylor Commons in the Frick Chemistry Lab. RSVP is requested

To learn more about the Pace Center's 15-year history, check out the Pace Center for Civic Engagement timeline.

Here are some of the highlights:


Economics professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 and Dorothy Bedford ’78 begin to plan celebrations for the University’s 250th anniversary and re-emphasize the University’s long-standing commitment to service.

The Board of Trustees approves plans by Bedford and Malkiel to develop a new organization to support and tie together campus community service efforts as a centerpiece of the University’s celebrations.

John H. Pace, Jr. ’39 gives the first gift to establish a center for community service. 


Plans are announced to form an official Center for Community Service at Charter Day.

“It will show that community service is not simply a useful add-on, a discretionary extracurricular activity, but rather an essential part of a liberal education.” - Burton G. Malkiel *64

Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro *64 offers his staunch support as alumni, including among others, John C. Bogle ’51, Carl Ferenbach ’64, and Peter Ochs ’65, contribute gifts in support.


The Pace Center for Community Service is founded with Sasa Olessi Montano, former executive director of the YWCA Trenton, named as director. The Center is named for Pace Jr. ’39 and his wife Augusta Pace and resides in the Frist Campus Center. 

“Service is not given. Service is a give and take. Students need to be open to also receive from the people who they are providing service to.” - Sasa Olessi Montano (2001-2005)

At her installation ceremony, President Shirley M. Tilghman emphasizes the value of service and leadership “to help fulfill Princeton’s obligation to society and bring true meaning to our motto ‘Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.’”


The High Meadows Post-Graduate Fellowship program, funded by Ferenbach ’64, begins to connect graduated seniors to careers in environmental nonprofit organizations. 

A Student Task Force on Civic Values at Princeton University opens a dialogue on campus about the relationship between higher education and public service at Princeton. The Task Force examines peer institutions and makes recommendations to inform the University’s approach to service. 


Kiki Jamieson, former lecturer in the Politics department, starts as the first Class of 1951 Director of the soon-to-be renamed Pace Center for Civic Engagement.

“Our goal is to connect public service with the academic mission of the University, and we do so by facilitating learning, teaching and action in the public interest.” - Kiki Jamieson (2005-2010)

The Pace Center strives to raise awareness of the full spectrum of service at Princeton by teaming up with the Undergraduate Student Government to organize Princeton in the Nation’s Service, a month-long series of service activities. 


Community House joins the Pace Center. Established by University undergraduates in 1969, Community House’s student-led education service projects and mentorship programs are bolstered to foster ever greater academic support and social-emotional well-being for local underrepresented youth and families. 

The Student Volunteers Council (SVC) joins the Pace Center. With roots dating back to the Philadelphian Society in 1825, the SVC’s student-led weekly service projects and other local-community focused efforts, such as Community Action (CA) - a service orientation program for freshmen, gain greater support and resources to grow and thrive. 


Students begin to propose and lead Breakout Princeton social-issue-oriented trips over fall and spring break during the academic year. 

The Pace Council for Civic Values (PCCV), a corps of civic engagement student ambassadors, takes shape. 

Student advocacy organizations with a civic engagement focus join the Pace Center and continue to flourish. 


Funded by the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation, the Guggenhein Internships in Criminal Justice program offers summer internships at New York City criminal justice nonprofit organizations. 

The Puttkammer Post-Graduate Criminal Justice Fellowship program is established and funded by Charles W. Puttkammer ’58.


Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) partners with the Pace Center, bringing opportunity for students to connect with nonprofit organizations and Princeton alumni through summer internships across the U.S. and abroad. 


Kimberly de los Santos joins the Pace Center as the John C. Bogle ’51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director.

“Meaningful service is service in which we never stop learning – about others, about the community, about ourselves, about why we need to serve and how to do it well.” - Kimberly de los Santos  (2012-present)

The Pace Center celebrates the service leadership and social impact of its students and community partners with new events, awards and recognition. 


Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 signals a renewed commitment to service through campus-wide strategic planning by asking the question: “What must we do to make service central to the mission of the University?”

Students lead an international service trip to Peru to explore the impact of solar technology in rural communities. 


The Pace Center celebrates 15 years of helping Princeton students learn to do service well and have a positive impact in the community.