Panel to Explore College-Community Partnership as Midwest Model

Event kicks off Albion College presidential inauguration festivities


September 2, 2014

Listen to panelist Richard Longworth on WMUK, 102.1 FM, Kalamazoo

The community of Albion as well as overarching ideas about community in 21st-century America will feature prominently throughout Albion College’s three-day “Celebrate Albion!” event September 11-13, starting with a panel discussion of accomplished policy experts representing Albion, the state of Michigan, and the Great Lakes region.

“Albion Tomorrow: The Liberal Arts College as Partner in Community Revitalization,” presented by the College’s Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, is a free and open-to-the-public discussion scheduled for Thursday, September 11, at 7 p.m. ET in the College’s Towsley Lecture Hall. It serves as the lead-in event to the inauguration of Mauri A. Ditzler as Albion College’s 16th president on Friday, September 12.

Comprising the panel will be John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education; Richard Longworth, senior fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Jocelyn Sargent, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Peggy Sindt, ’73, president of the Albion Economic Development Corporation; and Byron White, vice president for university engagement at Cleveland State University.

"This blue-ribbon panel of experts in community and economic development will talk about ways towns and their liberal arts colleges can best work together for the betterment of both,” said Ford Institute Director Patrick McLean, who will introduce the panel. “It is the kind of conversation that communities all across the Midwest should be having."

Ditzler, in a recent interview with the Battle Creek Enquirer, said Albion College and most other private residential liberal arts institutions established on the 19th-century Midwest frontier were founded for the same reasons: “They were all founded to make sure the communities in which they were built would thrive financially, have good quality of living, have an educational system that worked, a health-care system that worked, to make sure democracy worked in those towns. We have a moral responsibility to our founders to still think about adhering to that.”

For additional biographical information about each panelist, visit For more information about Celebrate Albion! events, which include Family Weekend and Community Day, visit