PRINCETON, NJ (November 16, 2020)—After extensive consultation, the Board of Trustees of the WW Foundation has adopted a new name and mission statement:
The Institute for Citizens & Scholars (Citizens & Scholars) prepares leaders and engages networks of people and organizations to meet urgent education challenges. The overarching goal is to shape an informed, productively engaged, and hopeful citizenry.
This new identity reflects the organization’s twin commitments: to strengthen American education and to rebuild a flourishing civil society.
Since the first Woodrow Wilson Fellowships were awarded at Princeton University in 1945, more than 27,000 Fellows from the organization’s various programs—including 18 Nobel Laureates, 39 MacArthur Fellows, many other award winners, and thousands of everyday heroes—have contributed to creating a better educated, more thoughtful, and more inclusive America. Excellence and leadership in higher education remain a cornerstone of what Citizens & Scholars does.
At the same time, Citizens & Scholars has been expanding the scope of its work as we seek to rebuild the way we develop citizens in our country. This will include supporting young people to be better citizens and networking civic leaders to ensure a resilient democracy. The new name speaks to this broader mission, our values, and our ongoing work.
The Board voted in June 2020 to change the name of the WW Foundation, originally named for Princeton’s most famous president, who emphasized excellence in college teaching. While Woodrow Wilson’s accomplishments as a university leader and as President of the United States were historic, his racist policies and beliefs are fundamentally incompatible with our organization’s values and work.
The new name honors the legacy of the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, as well as its new directions. It signals our aim to engage leaders and groups from various sectors as a collective force for progress on the nation’s biggest education challenges. It reflects our commitment to inclusion, bridge-building, and collaboration.
In these ways, we look forward to working with Fellows and friends, old and new, to reinvigorate the American ideal.