Light on the Hill, Volume II

Miller, Russell


NOT AS CLOSELY CONNECTED with Tufts as the Experimental College yet of great importance to the institution during the Wessell administration and after, was the Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs. It had originated in 1945, when leading citizens of Boston organized the Civic Education Foundation, originally known as the "Living Flame Memorial Foundation." The purpose was to support civic education programs "designed to further the values of a free society for which American men and women had died during World War II." Three years later (in 1948) the Cambridge-based Civic Education Project had been organized, and in 1950 the Foundation and the Project joined forces in order to expand the work the latter was doing in Boston-area schools, "especially in developing innovative and appealing instructional resources in civic education and the social studies." In 1951 the Living Flame Memorial Foundation changed its name to the Civic Education Foundation.


The organization immediately attracted Wessell's attention, and Tufts and the Foundation reached an agreement in 1954 whereby the Project was to be located on the campus and was redesignated as the "Tufts College Center for Civic Education in cooperation with the Civic Education Foundation." The understanding was that the Center would be independent from the institution so that it could carry out its operations and functions without being identified with any specific discipline or faculty at Tufts. The goal was, at the same time, to interact freely with all parts of the school as well as with the outside community.

In 1955 the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation endowed the Lincoln Filene Professorship in Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts, and in 1961 the Center became the Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs. The Filene Foundation also provided funds for the construction of the Center building at Tufts, contiguous to Braker Hall, and completed early in 1963. The estimated cost was $340,000 and the building comprised 12,000 square feet. The architects were Perry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean. Between 1962 and 1975 the Tufts trustee bylaws (Article XVIII in the 1962 edition) listed the Center as a part of the university. A reevaluation of the relationship between Tufts and the Foundation led to a reaffirmation of the independence of the Center in 1973 and revisions in the bylaws of both Tufts and the Foundation, completed in 1975.

The Center in 1975 was the only agency through which the Foundation carried out its purposes, and its operation remained entirely under the management and control of the Foundation. However, its location facilitated the desired close interaction with Tufts programs, personnel, and activities. The closeness of the relationship was affirmed by the presence of both the Tufts president and a designee from the university faculty or staff as ex officio members of the Foundation's executive committee. An overlap in trustee membership was not only traditional but was considered desirable. The Foundation was responsible for supporting the Center financially and the university held and accounted for its funds and performed financial and operational services such as payroll and personnel record-keeping. The positions of Executive Director, the chief administrative officer, and the Lincoln Filene Professorship, were separate. However, by mutual agreement both positions could be held by the same individual. The Foundation was responsible for selecting the Executive Director, who in turn reported to the president of the Foundation. The selection of the professorship was a Tufts responsibility, governed by faculty and trustee regulations until


1976, although the salary was provided by the Filene Professorship Fund and/or the Center. After that date the Filene Center teaching staff was no longer considered a constituent part of the Tufts faculties and therefore such provisions as those relating to tenure did not apply. The Executive Director had a dual responsibility: to report both to the university through an appropriate department chairman (Political Science) and to the trustees of the Foundation. Tufts was responsible for all services connected with the Center building. All expenses connected with staffing the Center were the responsibility of it or the Foundation.

The first working relationship between the Center and Tufts had been established in 1954, when three individuals were appointed as Lecturers in Education in the Summer School of that year "in connection with the Tufts College Center for Civic Education." They were Henry W. Holmes, Kenneth Sheldon, and John J. Mahoney, who became the first holder of the Lincoln Filene Professorship. Holmes was formerly Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education who had co-directed the Civic Education Project with Mahoney, a Professor of Education at Boston University.

Franklin K. Patterson was the first Director of the Filene Center, serving from 1957 until his resignation in 1966 to become president of Hampshire College, where he remained until 1971. While at Tufts he held the Filene Professorship as well as a professorship in both the Departments of Government (Political Science) and Education. He had come to the Filene Center from the chairmanship of the Department of Secondary Education at New York University where he was also Director of the Youth Community Participation project.

John S. Gibson, a member of the Tufts Department of Government since 1963, was made Acting Director and then Director after Patterson's resignation. Gibson, while Director of the World Affairs Council in Boston in the 1950s, had taught at Tufts part-time. During the transition period the trustees appointed an ad hoc committee to consider the future of the Center. They recommended no particular action and seemed satisfied with the continuance of the status quo. Acting President Mead was not.

There had been for some time a growing sense of dissatisfaction about the rather complex and anomalous relations between Tufts and the Center, which had a staff of twelve in 1967 that had grown to eighteen by 1971. The Center's personnel was, in Mead's estimation, "only marginally engaged in education and research in the area of the liberal arts and sciences and was too isolated from the rest of the campus." An attempt to remedy this situation was made in 1975, when an advisory committee consisting of Tufts faculty was formed.


Another source of difficulty was friction between regular faculty members and staff and their counterparts in the Center. One of the most sensitive areas was salary differentials which tended at first to be higher in the Center than in Tufts but were generally equalized by the 1970s.

The Center was busy the year round with all kinds of conferences and workshops. Typical were federally sponsored institutes for teachers of disadvantaged youth and special programs intended to study and improve the Boston school system. At the request of Federal District Judge J. Arthur Garrity in the spring of 1975 Tufts cooperated, together with other Boston-area colleges and universities, in improving the urban education program by linking up with a public secondary school. Tufts, under the supervision of a member of the Economics Department, worked with the Boston Technical High School in such fields as computer facilities, science programs, Spanish culture, drama, and English, including remedial reading programs. The Filene Center served for a time as the secretariat for all the cooperating institutions of higher education.

The programs that attracted the most public attention for many years were the annual Massachusetts Assemblies on State Government which lasted from 1959 through 1968. As many as eighty leaders in state politics (often including the governor), business, the professions, labor, agriculture, education, and civic life, as well as interested Tufts students, met for several days each year. The annual proceedings of the sessions were published in book form and did much to spread the name of Tufts around New England as well as in the Greater Boston area.

Among the services performed for many years directly for the university were a Black Awareness program for staff members and sponsorship of such undergraduate student organizations as the Young Republicans, the Young Democrats, and the Leonard Carmichael Society. In 1963-64 four members of the staff offered courses in the Government and Education Departments.

The Center, under the leadership of various directors, was responsible for numerous publications in the area of citizenship education, including political affairs, intergroup relations, and teacher education in the social studies. A division of economic education was established in 1970. Some publications presented model curricula and pilot instructional material in such fields as race relations and legal education for secondary school students.

After the reorganization of 1975-76 the decision was made to extend the Center's program to include citizenship training for adults as well as youth, with particular consideration given to such fields as


environmental affairs, health, and education. It was Stuart Langton, a member of the Center staff, who developed the idea of a national conference on citizen participation held in Washington, D.C., in 1978, sponsored by nine civic organizations and attended by 750 individuals. A publication entitled Citizen Participation was begun in September 1979 by the Center and was widely distributed.

Much was done in the field of New England environmental studies and a two-year federally funded Environmental Advocates program was coordinated by Nancy W. Anderson. This was run jointly with the Tufts graduate program in Urban Social and Environmental Policy and illustrated the sort of cooperation that had been envisaged when the Center was established at Tufts in the 1950s.

  • Light on the Hill, the second volume of the history of Tufts University, was published in 1986, covering the years from 1952 to 1986. This doucument was created from the 1986 edition of Light on the Hill, Volume II.
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 Title Page
1. Setting the Stage for the Second Century
2. Long-Range Planning
3. Bricks and Mortar 1952-1967
4. The End of Theological Education at Tufts
5. Ever-Widening Curricula for Liberal Arts and Engineering
6. Jackson College: A Search for Identity
7. Defining the Role of the College of Special Studies
8. The Arts and Sciences Faculty I
9. The Arts and Sciences Faculty II
10. The Central Library
11. The Changing Character of the Student Body
12. Fraternities and Sororities at Tufts: A Cyclical History
13. A Beehive of Activity: From Trustees to Students
14. From Wessell to Hallowell
15. The Hallowell Administration: Years of Trial and Tribulation
16. The Hallowell Administration: Continued Trial and Tribulation
17. Educational Ventures, Successful and Otherwise
18. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
19. Medical and Dental Education I
20. Medical and Dental Education II
21. Taking Stock of the University in the 1960s and 1970s
22. The Mayer Administration: A Preliminary View
23. The Mayer Administration: Consolidation and Expansion