NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, CW’67, and her husband, economist Alan Greenspan, have made a gift to endow the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. The Andrea Mitchell Center will provide an unparalleled platform for students, faculty, and a broad public audience to explore some of society’s most pressing concerns and enhance Penn’s stature as a hub for scholarship on democratic institutions and issues.
Penn President Amy Gutmann said, “Andrea and Alan share the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment to the essential role of path-breaking scholarship along with robust, reasoned and evidence-based dialogue in a democratic society. The Andrea Mitchell Center will engage students and faculty across disciplines in such essential research and dialogue. It also will be a premier public forum for reasoned discourse about democracy. We are all extraordinarily grateful for their exemplary generosity and abiding commitment to the study of democracy and to Penn.”
The Andrea Mitchell Center will build on the work of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism, an initiative established with Mellon Foundation support in 2006. The Center’s leadership is changing as well, with Jeffrey Green, associate professor of political science, taking over from founding director Rogers Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science and associate dean for the social sciences. “Rogers has fostered exploration of democracy on the global scale and encouraged scholarly collaboration across Penn,” said Steven J. Fluharty, dean of Arts and Sciences. “Jeffrey and the Andrea Mitchell Center will continue that work, allowing our faculty to engage in meaningful scholarship and invite student participation in vitally important conversations.”
“Penn has a unique capacity to promote democratic discourse about civic life,” said Ms. Mitchell. “The University’s home in Philadelphia, with its heritage of constitutionalism, combined with Penn’s academic resources, creates the perfect environment to consider complex experiences of citizenship and nationhood. Thoughtful inquiry is deeply important to me personally, and I believe it is of the utmost importance for our nation and, indeed, for all democratic nations. I am grateful that Penn is offering us this opportunity and that my husband and I are able to help make the Center a reality.”
The Andrea Mitchell Center will support academic and public programs organized around yearly themes. The opening event, Religious Freedom in Trouble? An Interfaith Discussion will be on September 28 at the National Constitution Center. The programs will engage students and postdoctoral fellows. Workshop and conference materials will be captured in a book series published in conjunction with the Penn Press.
Ms. Mitchell is the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC. She studied English at Penn, where she served as program director at WXPN. She began her professional broadcast career in Philadelphia at KYW Newsradio and she has been a correspondent for NBC since 1978. She is the chair of the Penn Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers and is a University Trustee Emerita. She also is a former chair of the Annenberg School for Communication Advisory Committee and is a member emerita of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women.
Previous gifts from Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Greenspan have endowed two PIK professorships. She also supports the Kelly Writers House and the Music Department Performance Fund.