Davidson College president receives 2018 Lambert Engaged Leader Award

February 9, 2018
Davidson College President Carol Quillen (photo courtesy of Davidson College)

North Carolina Campus Compact, a network of colleges and universities committed to civic and community engagement, has honored Davidson College President Carol Quillen with the 2018 Leo M. Lambert Engaged Leader Award.

The award is named for Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, who helped found the civic engagement network in 2002 and served as its first Executive Board Chair. Lambert has led Elon University since 1999.

The Lambert Award is presented each year to one college or university president or chancellor in North Carolina for leadership that fosters student engagement and impacts the community. The honoree is chosen by fellow campus leaders whose institutions are part of the Compact.

Quillen is the seventh president or chancellor to receive the Lambert Award, which was first presented in 2012.

Since 2011 when she became Davidson College’s eighteenth president, Quillen has championed Davidson’s civic mission and focused on preparing students to lead and innovate in the service of something larger than themselves.

Quillen’s support for collaborative research has given Davidson students opportunities to produce new knowledge, whether working with faculty in the classroom or entrepreneurs in the community.  A new graduation requirement approved in 2016 has students taking at least one course that explores justice, equality, and community. Major gifts from the Duke Endowment are enhancing inclusive pedagogy and interdisciplinary learning.

Quillen has helped create immersive, community-based experiences like the Education Scholars, a summer program for students seeking to drive change in Charlotte’s K-12 education system. Another program — the Davidson Impact Fellows – pairs recent graduates with local nonprofit agencies to address critical social issues. In 2014, Quillen saw the launch of the Davidson College Advising Corps, a partnership with the National College Advising Corps to place Davidson graduates as college mentors at under-resourced schools.

Nationally, Quillen has become a spokesperson for access and affordability in higher education. She served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans in 2014-2015. She has continued to strengthen the Davidson Trust, which allows the college to practice need-blind admission and meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for all students through a combination of grants and campus employment. In 2016, Davidson became a founding member of the American Talent Initiative (ATI), one of 30 distinguished colleges and universities seeking to expand the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s top-performing institutions.

Quillen grew up in New Castle, Delaware. She earned a bachelor’s in American history from the University of Chicago, and received a Ph.D. in European history from Princeton University. She came to Davidson from Rice University, where she served as vice president for international and interdisciplinary initiatives.

Davidson College joined North Carolina Campus Compact in 2007, and Quillen served on the organization’s Executive Board from 2011 to 2017.

Presidents Lambert and Quillen (photo by Andrew Krech)

The Compact recognized Quillen at its annual Presidents Forum, hosted by Meredith College in Raleigh on February 9. More than 25 presidents and chancellors  attended the one-day event, along with other college and university administrators.

The forum included keynote remarks by Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges & Universities, and Dr. Matthew Hartley, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Attendees also took part in a facilitated discussion – led by Meredith College political scientist Dr. David McClennan and retired NC Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr – that examined the role of campuses in fostering free speech and civility.

The 2018 Lambert Engaged Leader Award is sponsored by the Piedmont Service Group. The forum is sponsored in part by Aramark.

North Carolina Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of 37 public, private, and community colleges and universities that share a commitment to civic and community engagement. The network was founded in 2002 and is hosted by Elon University. North Carolina Campus Compact is an affiliate of the national Campus Compact organization, which claims 1,000 member schools representing nearly 2 million college students.