Since Connecticut College’s founding, the values of civic responsibility and community involvement have been an integral part of the College’s liberal arts education. For the past 20 years, those values have been put into practice by the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy.
The Holleran Center celebrated its 20th anniversary April 8 with an event that brought back past directors, former College presidents, and activists and philanthropists Jerry and Carolyn Holleran ’60 GP’07, for whom the center is named.
“We hoped to create a model that would benefit people and places far beyond its boundaries, and would prepare students to meet the challenges in our communities today and tomorrow,” said Carolyn Holleran at the gala. “Needless to say, the accomplishments of all involved with the Center for the past 20 years have far exceeded our expectations.”
“Truly, this is the gift that keeps on giving to us and we continue to be in awe of its impact,” she added.
President Katherine Bergeron recognized past Holleran Center directors Sunil Bhatia, MaryAnne Borrelli, Stevenson Carlebach, Tracee Reiser, Jefferson Singer, Margaret Sheridan, Audrey Zakriski, and current director Jennifer Fredricks during her remarks at the gala. She also acknowledged former College president Claire Gaudiani, who oversaw the formation of the Center during her tenure and was in attendance at the event, for her recognition of the “importance of connecting the College to the local community.”
The Holleran Center—one of the College’s five centers for interdisciplinary scholarship—advances teaching, learning, research and community collaborations through programs that develop intellectual and ethical judgment. The Center’s Certificate Program in Community Action and Public Policy (PICA), requires students to take a set of related courses and a senior seminar, conduct College-funded internships, and complete a senior integrative project.
The Center was the result of an early 1990s collaboration between members of the College community and New London leaders interested in how to best educate students on community concerns. Working in partnership with the College’s Office of Volunteers for Community Service, the Center for Community Challenges was formed in 1996. In 1999, the Hollerans endowed the Center with a gift to the College.
Today, the Center enrolls 74 College students representing more than 30 departments and programs across campus.
Following the 20th anniversary gala, the Center hosted its annual conference. During the daylong event, student scholars in the Class of 2016 presented integrative projects on education, global health, gender and injustice.