Donors Establish Program for Experiential Learning in Public Policy

October 08, 2018

Trustee George Moose ’66 and his wife Judith R. Kaufmann have established the Program for Experiential Learning in Public Policy at Grinnell College with an endowed gift totaling $840,000.

The fund aims at promoting the development of ethically-informed, public minded student leaders and College graduates. Its principal purpose is to encourage students to consider careers in public service, as well as to help ensure that students can afford to participate in related career development opportunities.  

Administered by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights, the fund will support programs that provide students with direct, practical experience in public policy. It focuses support on reinvigoration of Grinnell’s Program in Practical Political Education (PPPE), which facilitated student involvement in politics in the 1960s, and establishes revised goals for the PPPE that include promoting interest in public service at the College and enhancing the free flow of ideas important for strengthening U.S. democracy.

The new fund will also support strategic endeavors of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), which promotes an integrated approach to international education across the College, including national and international projects that explore global problems and challenges.

“We are grateful to George and Judith for envisioning and creating a mission-driven program of support that is informed by their vast knowledge and professional experiences at the highest levels of career public service,” says Raynard S. Kington, president. “The Program for Experiential Learning in Public Policy will help students develop the leadership skills essential for navigating national and international complexities and contributing responsibly to society.”

Moose and Kaufmann, both career public servants with experience in senior policy positions with the U.S. State Department, met while in the Foreign Service. Reflecting on his time as a Grinnell student, Moose cites his interest in public policy matters – primarily the civil rights movement and Vietnam War – and his involvement with the PPPE as key factors in his early understanding of the connections between politics and policymaking.

Both Moose and Kaufmann believe their careers were profoundly influenced by sponsored work-study programs, internships, and exchange student experiences in places like Brazil, Tanzania, Washington D.C., and Mexico City. Internships, course-embedded travel, and other experiential opportunities will be among activities supported by the Program for Experiential Learning in Public Policy, with the aim of helping students explore the development of public policy and its impact on people’s lives.

“Our experiences overseas and in Washington D.C. made us intensely aware of the need to support the development of students who will be our next generation of policy makers and practitioners, and to equip them with the knowledge and understanding to pursue public service within an ethical framework,” says Moose. “A key purpose in establishing this fund is to help support students who otherwise may not be able to afford unpaid experiences, which we see as vital for their professional success.”

“This very generous gift will provide our students with greater opportunities to pursue meaningful careers in public service,” says Mike Latham, dean of the College. “Given Grinnell's historic commitment to social responsibility and George and Judith's own remarkable careers, this gift will also provide an ideal means for the College to continue to pursue its essential values and goals."

The Grinnell College Office of Development and Alumni Relations says other donors will be able to support the fund, and additional funds may be contributed at any time.

“George and Judith’s philanthropy optimizes the impact of Grinnell students in the world, provides strategic benefits to both student recruitment and alumni engagement, and extends the reach and prestige of the College,” says Jaci Thiede, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We are thankful for their generosity and foresight in helping students prepare for careers that will make an ongoing impact on society at all levels.” 

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