Expanding the Legacy: The Campaign for the President Gerald R. Ford Institute

August 16, 2021

We are excited to announce a national search for the next director of the President Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service. Our search runs in parallel to an impact campaign that will establish the national significance of the Institute and its new administrative home, the School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement. The campaign will culminate with a celebration of our progress during Homecoming 2022.

The campaign will be chaired by longtime Albion College supporters Joseph S. ’78 and Donna Calvaruso, both of whom have dedicated more than 11 years of their lives to stewarding the legacy of President Gerald R. Ford. An Albion native, Joe Calvaruso retired from his service as the executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation in Grand Rapids in 2020 and is a member of the Albion College Board of Trustees.

Both Joe and Donna are excited to take on this new role, and we are grateful for their vision and leadership. As Joe shared with us, “President Ford established the Institute at Albion College in 1977 because he recognized the role that liberal arts colleges like Albion play in developing leaders who can understand the complexities of our world and use this understanding to create lasting and positive impact. We are launching this campaign to expand, enhance and fully realize that vision.”

“Our students face unprecedented challenges, and a strong foundation in public service – regardless of their discipline or chosen profession – is key to graduating engaged, community-minded citizens,” Donna added. “We are delighted to lead the charge to expand the President Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.”

Outgoing Director Patrick McLean’s eight years of leadership have positively impacted the lives of many emerging leaders and significantly shaped the most recent period of the Institute’s long history. We are excited to recruit a new national leader who can build on this foundation and expand the reach and scope of the Institute.

Soon, we will extend invitations to students, alumni, faculty and community members to examine the past and potential of the Institute. Together we will explore many of the issues typified by President Ford‘s remarkable life, the challenges he faced, and the life of service he chose. In partnership with others commemorating Ford‘s legacy around the world, these efforts will culminate in an elevated and expanded Institute and the opening of a new museum. As public service and community engagement become indisputable pillars of Albion’s curriculum, this revisioning of the Ford Institute will help to lead the way forward.

We lead this charge with the full support of President Johnson, who shared with us his excitement for this new phase of growth. “Albion’s emphasis on public purpose positions us to elevate the Ford Institute to take its rightful place at the table as a peer to the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation here in Michigan. The Institute will become a national leader in developing our understanding of public service as a central pillar of life and work.”

The new opportunities created by our dialogue and work will extend the robust tradition of engaged and experiential learning that has been developed within the Institute. In the days ahead, we will be reaching out to the Ford Institute External Advisory Council, to members of President Ford‘s family and to his friends and colleagues, to Ford Institute alumni and current students, community members and engaged faculty and to regional and national leaders in the field of public service and community engagement to join us in this campaign.

Dr. Ashley Woodson
Dean, School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement

Dr. Ron Mourad
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs