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Highlights

1979

  • 1979

    Public Policy Program Established

    Hamilton receives a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to establish an interdisciplinary program in public policy. The fledgling program was designed to encourage students and faculty members to use the three disciplines of economics, government, and philosophy in analyzing specific public policy issues.

1980

  • 1980

    Arthur Levitt’s Legacy Honored

    To honor the late Arthur Levitt for his longtime public service, his family funds the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center. Elected New York State comptroller six times, Levitt received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Hamilton in 1979 for his “peerless reputation and efficiency in an office where corruption and confusion had been known to flourish.”

1994

  • 1994

    U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders Visits Hamilton

    U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders visits Hamilton to present the lecture “Why the U.S. Needs a Canadian-Style Health Care System." He is one of hundreds of speakers brought to campus over the last 40 years thanks to Levitt Center funding.

1995

  • 1995

    Bristol-Myers Squibb Funds Equipment Purchase

    With funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Levitt Center is equipped with six computers.

1999

  • 1999

    National Survey Results Broadcast Live on C-SPAN

    The Levitt Center conducts the survey Racial Attitudes of Young Americans in conjunction with the NAACP and Zogby International. The results of the survey, developed by Professor Phil Klinkner and students in his class Race and American Democracy, are broadcast live by C-SPAN. Other surveys followed on such topics as Youth and Guns, Gay Issues, Immigration Opinion, and Climate Change and Environmental Issues.

2002

  • 2002

    Levitt Fellows Program Launches

    Levitt Fellows Program launches and has since provided hundreds of students with opportunities to spend the summer researching a public affairs question of their choosing. Levitt Fellows collaborate with a faculty adviser and present their research in the fall or spring.

2004

  • 2004

    Project SHINE Begins

    The Levitt Center begins Project SHINE, a service-learning program through which students help refugees and immigrants in the Utica area develop English skills.

2008

  • 2008

    Levitt Center Relocates

    The Levitt Center moves into its new space on the second floor of the renovated and expanded Kirner-Johnson Building.

2012

  • 2012

    Levitt Leadership Institute Created

    Former Ambassador Prudence Bushnell teams with the Levitt Center to create the Levitt Leadership Institute. In its inaugural year, 17 students spend two weeks, one in January on campus and one in Washington, D.C., in March, learning about the theory and practice of leadership with the goal of making a difference in the community.

2014

  • 2014

    Social Innovation Lab Opens

    Designed to support student innovators as they work to develop novel solutions to persistent social problems, the lab is equipped with video conferencing equipment, wall-to-wall white boards, and collaborative space to spur creative thought.

2018

2020

  • 2020

    Law and Justice Lab Launches

    The Law and Justice Lab launches to pair theoretical study of the legal system with application to real-world issues. Components include the class Crafting Criminal Justice Reform in Response to Black Lives Matter; a survey of area residents on perceptions of law enforcement and racial justice topics; and the Community-College Partnership for Racial and Criminal Justice Reform, which brought together academic, legal, and community leaders.

Reflections

Michael Nelson ’18
Researcher,
The Project on Workforce at Harvard

“The Levitt Center [programs] gave me tangible leadership skills and frameworks that I still use. The encouragement from the administrators to develop commitment projects was an experiential opportunity to create real change on campus. I remember initially struggling to balance the needs of students, faculty, and administrators in different settings, but eventually I became comfortable working across groups. I will also add that the Levitt Center was a focal point for like-minded students that are still my friends today.”

Carolyn Kossow ’17
Communications Consultant,
Kossow Consulting

“The Levitt Center is the reason I am in the career I’m in today. After my sophomore year, I was awarded a $4,000 grant to cover the expenses of an unpaid internship at the National Women’s Law Center, which inspired my career advocating for gender equity and racial justice. I later worked as a program assistant for Project SHINE, giving back to the Levitt Center.

Since graduating, I earned a master’s in gender studies from the London School of Economics and have been steeped in the nonprofit sector advocating for social justice in a variety of areas — gender equity, racial justice, reproductive and sexual health, legal justice, and LGBTQ advocacy. I currently do marketing and grant writing at Nontraditional Employment for Women, a nonprofit that helps women, trans, and non-binary folks get into union construction careers, ensuring economic stability for themselves and their families.”

Matthew Eng ’02
Strategic Advisor,
City of Seattle

“As a Levitt Scholar and a public policy major, I used the Levitt Center’s resources to complete my senior project on wage determination in the local public sector. This project helped foster my interest in local government. I am now employed [by the] City of Seattle. My current focus is regulation of for-hire transportation and towing; however, I’ve had the pleasure of working on issues concerning human resources, budgeting, immigrants and refugees, information technology, performance measurement, customer service, and many others.”

A sample of positions Levitt Center alumni have held ...

Matt Zeller ’04

CIA intelligence officer, candidate for U.S. Congress, officer in U.S. Army Reserve, entrepreneur

Niisha K. Butler ’98

Attorney, board member of Play and Learn Foundation, coordinator/teacher at Justice Harry A. Blackmun Law College for Teens

Heather Cooper ’94

Director of the South Africa grants programme at the TK Foundation

Benjamin Ligas ’14

Associate director of major giving at Boston College

Matthew Eng ’02

Strategic advisor for City of Seattle, research associate at American Research Institutes

Julia Coash ’16

Lead teacher for special education at Campus School at Boston College

Lauren Howe ’13

Program administrator at Denver Department of Public Health and Environment

Ann Dubin ’06

Founder and principal at Civic Matters Documentary Productions

Amanda Schwartz ’95

Principal consultant on education and human services projects at Amanda Schwartz Consulting

Terrance MacMullan ’94

Professor of philosophy at Eastern Washington University, public philosopher, teacher, and author

Cameron Johnson ’03

Attorney-advisor at Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor

Caroline Grunewald ’15

Food and agriculture analyst at The Breakthrough Institute, public service aide at San Francisco Human Services Agency-Planning Unit

Eleni Neyland ’18

Political associate to Maine’s speaker of the house

Jason Mitchell ’98

Superintendent of the Madison Central School District

Lia Parker-Belfer ’16

Health and benefits consultant

Jo Stiles ’15

Director of economic and military policy for Congressman Joe Morelle, U.S. House of Representatives

Zoe Aldrich ’15

Policy and advocacy specialist at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Lyman Munschauer ’13

Chief marketing officer at the National Republican Congressional Committee

Yvette Lopez ’00

Program associate at The Steppingstone Foundation

Tim Fossett ’02

Entrepreneur and board chair of Foundation for York County Community College

Tonya Bloomer VanDeinse ’00

Clinical associate professor – UNC Chapel Hill (mental health, criminal justice)

Julie DiRoma ’10

College counselor at The Seven Hills School

Jonathan Rick ’05

Communications specialist, adjunct instructor at University of Maryland at College Park

Chloe (Mengxian) Ma ’17

Manager of government affairs and policy at American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China)

Jack McHugh ’84

Head of business development at 11.2 Ventures and volunteer board member at children’s hospital

Sherman Hall ’85

Police detective and director of safety and security at Sacred Heart School in Atherton

Stephanie Taylor Dunn ’95

Attorney, NYS Courts, Court of Federal Claims, corporate in-house counsel

Conor O’Shea ’18

Investigator for the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board

Chidera Onyeoziri ’18

J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School, student attorney for Harvard Defenders, AmeriCorps Legal Advocate, Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee

Emily Moschowits ’16

Master’s degree student in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at BI Oslo Business School, founder & executive director of Utica Greens

1981-82

Hedrick Smith: Pulitzer Prize-winning, former New York Times reporter, and Emmy Award-winning producer and correspondent.

1989-90

Bernie Sanders: U.S. senator from Vermont and former candidate for president of the United States.

1995-96

Ralph Nader: Political activist noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes.

Richard N. Haass: President of the Council on Foreign Relations, former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department.

Joseph S. Nye, Jr: Political scientist and co-founder of the international relations theory of neoliberalism.

1996-97

Martin Hirsch: Former head of Emmaüs France, the former High Commissioner for Active Solidarity against Poverty, and the High Commissioner for Youth.

Robert Moses ’56: Educator and civil rights activist, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on voter education and registration in Mississippi, and co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

1997-98
Julian Bond: Social activist, leader of the civil rights movement, politician, professor, and writer who helped establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
1999-2000

Glenn Loury: First Black tenured professor of economics at Harvard University; the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University.

Vivian Malone-Jones: One of the first two Black students to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1963, who in 1965 became the university’s first Black graduate.

2000-01

Barbara McClatchie Andrews: Photojournalist and photographer who documented and focused on cultural themes in the emerging world.

William McKibben: Environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming.

2001-02

Stephen Gill: Experimental, conceptual, and documentary photographer, whose work has been exhibited internationally.

Serrin Foster: President of Feminists for Life of America, a non-profit, anti-abortion, feminist, non-governmental organization.

2003-04

Vandana Shiva: Scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author.

Robert Greenstein: Founder and former president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C. think tank that focuses on federal and state fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

2004-05

Alice Rivlin: Vice chair of the Federal Reserve, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and founding director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Joseph Stiglitz: Economist, public policy analyst, professor at Columbia University, and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the John Bates Clark Medal.

Dinesh D’Souza: Political commentator, provocateur, author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist.

2005-06

Constantine “Dean” Kokkoris: One of the lawyers for the class action lawsuits related to Agent Orange in Vietnam and a labor lawyer in New York City.

2005-06, Continued

William W. Taylor III: Litigator involved with numerous high-profile civil and criminal matters, with clients such as former Salt Lake City Olympic Committee chair Thomas Welch and former CEO of Massey Energy Company Donald Blankenship.

2006-07

Anders Aslund: Economist, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and chairman of the International Advisory Council at the Center for Social and Economic Research.

Arthur Levitt, Jr.: The 25th and longest-serving chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (1993 to 2001).

Roland Fryer: Economist, youngest Black professor to be awarded tenure at Harvard University.

2007-08

Barbie Zelizer: Journalist, Raymond Williams Professor of Communication and director of the Scholars Program in Culture and Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nadine Strossen: Civil liberties activist who was president of the American Civil Liberties Union. First woman and youngest person to lead the ACLU.

Stuart Ingis ’93: Attorney and thought leader in crisis management, privacy, marketing, advertising, consumer protection, eCommerce, and Internet law.

2009-10

Dean Baker: Macroeconomist and co-founder, with Mark Weisbrot, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. One of the first economists to have identified the 2007–08 U.S. housing bubble.

Tariq Ali: Political activist, writer, journalist, historian, filmmaker, and public intellectual.

Andrew McCarthy: Co-chair of the Center for Law and Counter Terrorism and a former federal prosecutor.

Christopher Hedges: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, foreign correspondent, Presbyterian minister, author, and television host.

2010-11

James C. Cobey ’65: A member of Physicians for Human Rights, shared in the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for the international campaign to ban land mines.

Margaret Stock: Politician, immigration attorney, and retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Expert on immigration law as it applies to U.S. military personnel and veterans.

Paul Wapner: Professor of global environmental politics in the School of International Service at American University and winner of the 1997 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book on international environmental affairs.

2012-13

Michelle Alexander: Civil rights lawyer, social justice advocate, New York Times columnist, and scholar. She wrote the bestseller The New Jim Crow.

Earl Devaney: Former inspector general for the U.S. Department of the Interior and former chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

Prudence Bushnell: Diplomat who served as the U.S. ambassador to Kenya and U.S. ambassador to Guatemala.

2013-14

Christopher Dickey: Journalist, author, and news editor. He was the Paris-based world news editor for The Daily Beast.

Kwame Anthony Appiah: Philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual history.

Siddharta Mukherjee: Physician, biologist, oncologist, and author. He is best known for his 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.

2015-16

Danielle Nierenberg: Activist, author, and journalist. Co-founded Food Tank: The Think Tank For Food, and founded Nourishing the Planet while working at the Worldwatch Institute.

John Dau: Also known as Dhieu-Deng Leek, he is one of the “lost boys of Sudan” who was featured in the 2006 award-winning documentary God Grew Tired of Us.

Michael Mann: Climatologist and geophysicist, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

2016-17

Jon Betz: An award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, co-director and co-producer of Seed: The Untold Story and the producer and editor for Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?

Taggart Siegel: Award-winning documentary filmmaker, whose work reflects cultural diversity.

Lester Spence: Professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University known for critiques of neoliberalism and media commentary and research on race, urban politics, and police violence.

2017-18

Dmitry Suslov: Deputy director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics.

Lyle Goldstein: Research professor and founding director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College.

Rose Gill Hearn: Principal of Municipal Integrity at Bloomberg Associates and longest-serving commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Director of the documentary film Nemtsov, who was a vocal critic and political rival of the Putin regime.

2018-19

David Herd: Poet, critic, and professor of modern literature who has published widely on 20th century and contemporary literature and whose work has focused on the intersection between literature and human rights.

Anna Pincus: Founder and coordinator of Refugee Tales, who has worked for Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group supporting people held in immigration detention.

Michael Klosson ’71: Former U.S. ambassador to Cyprus and Save the Children vice president for Policy and Humanitarian Response.

Marc Randolph ’80: Co-founder of Netflix who now works with 1% For The Planet and the National Outdoor Leadership School.

2019-20

Kevin Lansing: Senior research advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

2020-21

Andrew Whitehead: Associate Professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. His writing examines Christian nationalism, religion and American culture, and childhood disability and religion.

Stuart Schrader: Lecturer and assistant research scientist in sociology at Johns Hopkins University and author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing.

Chris Newman: Left the tech industry to start Sylvanaqua Farms near where his Piscataway ancestors once managed acres of corn and fish along the Potomac River.

Reflections

Anna Zahm ’13
Community & Programming,
MoveSpring

“The Levitt Center is the reason I’m on my current career trajectory. I participated in a project led by Professor [of Anthropology Chaise] LaDousa that became the basis for my thesis. The research centered on tutoring and interviewing adult ESL (English as a Second Language) learners. Working with immigrants and refugees inspired me to apply for a Fulbright ETA (English Teaching Assistant) position in Thailand. That experience allowed me to teach and work with high school students full time.

I found my next job with a Chicago-based college-access program, where I started out working with students in one of our partner high schools. I now work on our programming team helping train staff, develop curricula, and manage programs. I’m looking to move on to the next thing for me, but whatever comes next I can trace a very clear straight line back to my summer internship through the Levitt Center!”

Terrance MacMullan ’94
Professor of Philosophy,
Eastern Washington University

“My semester as a Levitt Scholar made an indelible and enormously positive impact on my life. I had the pleasure of interning for Sen. Bill Bradley from my home state of New Jersey as well as a Nicaraguan human rights organization called La Red de Solidaridad. Even better were the impassioned arguments we had about politics — what was wrong with the world and how to fix it — [in] Frank Anechiarico’s outstanding classes. When I started Hamilton I was on track to be a prosecutor.

Being a Levitt Scholar taught me that I loved ideas and talking about them and that I wanted to do something else with my life. I am now in my 20th year as a professor of philosophy and honors at Eastern Washington University. I specialize in political philosophy and philosophy of race. I am almost half as good as Professor Anecharico on his worst day. I believe that my primary area of research, which is on addressing and correcting habits of white supremacist racism, is motivated by a desire to practice philosophy as a form of public service that addresses the real problems of people and not the more abstract problems that often occupy philosophers’ attention.”

Chidera Onyeoziri ’18
J.D. Candidate,
Harvard Law School

“The culture of cultivating leadership skills, nurturing and harnessing student creativity, and exposing students to diverse perspectives and strategies for addressing social issues — all this drew me to the Levitt Center as a first-year student and kept me until I graduated. With Levitt funding, I undertook a social innovation internship in Washington, D.C., traveled to New Orleans for the Ashoka University conference, and to Osakikamijima, Japan. I also participated in the Leadership Fellowship and numerous conferences and workshops on leadership and innovation. During my senior year, it was an honor to lead the innovation team in spearheading campus-wide town halls. Not only did these practical and real-world experiences make my time at Hamilton more enjoyable, they also broadened my understanding of what it means to be a leader and a change agent.”

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