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Stephen Warner '68, a social-justice activist who helped found campus groups including a committee against the Vietnam War, is drafted and dies in 1971 after being ambushed on the Laotian border. He left the College his G.I. insurance "to create intellectually controversial activities." This lays the groundwork for the creation of CPS.
 1979 Gettysburg College’s January Term Service Learning was begun which utilized the worldwide network of the Lutheran Church for more than 30 January internship placements. 

In the early 80's, Sociology Professor Wade Hook and former Gettysburg College Chaplain, Karl Mattson, began taking students to Tuskegee, Alabama to learn about Civil Rights issues during the January Term. Walter Hill, the Dean of the Tuskegee School of Agriculture took an interest in Gettysburg College and connected us with George Paris as well as Bob Mants, who remained our host until his death in 2011.

 1983 Four regular community service programs: Volunteers for Youth, a program at the Abbottstown Child Development Center for exceptional Children, Tutoring and the Adopt-a-Grandparent program probably involving about 125 students on regular basis are run through the college Chapel. These programs were the precursors for the eventual development of the various programs sponsored by the Center for Public Service. 
The first Fall Convocation is held to gather the campus around social justice issues. Benjamin Spock is the first speaker.
 1987 After Gettysburg College sponsors visits to Nicaragua to explore the Sandinista-Contra conflict, Project Gettysburg-León is formed to foster friendship, understanding and reciprocity.
 1988 After former Gettysburg College Chaplain, Karl Mattson, Professor Lou Hammon and students participated in Habitat for Humanity builds in Nicaragua, students established one of the first campus chapters of Habitat for Humanity, receiving the charter status directly from Jimmy Carter. Since a local chapter is needed to make the campus chapter successful, Karl, Jerry Christianson and Dick Waybright established a local chapter in 1998.
 1989 Gordon Haaland becomes president of Gettysburg College and was anxious to develop new programs on campus. To achieve this goal, President Holland establishes the Task Force on Servant Leadership chaired by Thane Pittman. The first recommendation of the task force was the establishment of a Center for Public Service.
 1990 After two years at Oakside Community Park, Gettysburg College partnered with LIU#12 Migrant Education Programs to host the first Fiesta on campus, celebrating the end of the harvest season. 

The first Gettysburg Is Volunteering (GIV) Day is held for first-year students to provide service and be introduced to Adams County during orientation.
The Center for Public Service is established under the direction of former Gettysburg College Chaplain, Karl Mattson.
 1992 Students at Gettysburg College perform 16,268 hours of community service through CPS. 
 1993 Twelve students were hired as the first group of program coordinators, establishing the unique model of leadership between students and community agencies. 

CPS maintains 18 two-week and 3 one-week Immersion Projects, several in Central America, two in the Caribbean, five on Native American reservations, one in Russia, one in Peru and two in the South.

Ten academic courses offered a service-learning component and involved more than 150 students in course-based community service.
 1994 CPS received a three-year grant from the National Corporation for Service to provide new curricular and co-curricular intersections between the College and the Latino and migrant community. 
The Sandtown-Winchester Partnership begins between Gettysburg College and the Mayor’s Office in Baltimore, working together for urban revitalization and interracial dialogue. See photo on left.

7 faculty, 3 administrators and 2 trustees participated on an 11-day Faculty Seminar in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, giving participants a first-hand experience in the pedagogy of service-learning.
 1996 A Senior Survey indicates that 72-77% of each class has participated in service over the last 5 year.

With funding provided by Gettysburg College, four students create innovative summer projects in Adams County, Jamaica and Zimbabwe.


The National Society for Experiential Learning (NSEE) began to work with members to develop a new service-learning model in which educators and community leaders would form sustainable partnerships transcending one time projects. In 1997, funding from the Surdna and Ford foundations made it possible for NSEE to implement the National Community Development Program, with Gettysburg College being one of three schools piloting the project. Several of the community partnerships developed during this three year grant are still sustainable programs today. These partnerships include Migrant Education Programs, South Central Community Action Programs and Gettysburg High School.


CPS begins working with The Center/El Centro, an after-school program for Latino youth living in the borough of Gettysburg. Gettysburg College students have been tutoring daily ever since.
 1999 The Sandtown partnership was strengthened through funding by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the development of a higher education consortium to support the neighborhood schools.
 2000 The Gettysburg College Choir tours Nicaragua for the first time.
 2001 Center for Public Service receives the United Way Community Builder Award for Adams County.
 2002 Marking the 19th year of Fall Convocation, Luong Ung, Cambodian American human-rights activist addresses the Gettysburg Community. Great speakers who came before her include Benjamin Spock, Maya Angelou, Morris Dees and Kweisi Mfume.
 2003 Gettysburg College becomes a sub-grantee of a three year grant by the Corporation for National and Community Service Learn and Serve Grant awarded to Tulane University to institutionalize service-learning.
 2004 Tsunami devastates southeast Asia in late December.  Gettysburg College responds by supporting Professor Rajmohan Ramanathapillai’s hometown of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka through the “One Boat at a Time” project.  The community raised enough funds to get 7 fishing families back in business.
CPS plans to send an Immersion Project to New Orleans to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. With 50 people, the first groups heads to Gulf Coast in May 2006. 

Student program coordinators plan and facilitate a well-received “Rural Poverty in America” conference on campus.


CPS rewrites its mission to state, "The Center for Public Service engages students, community members, faculty and staff to facilitate partnerships, education, critical thinking and informed action.  Through these alliances, we aim to foster social justice by promoting personal, institutional and community change."

CPS is awarded the Living the Dream Award at the annual Adams County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Gettysburg College is awarded the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for excellent collaboration between an "institution of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in the context of partnership and reciprocity.

The Adams County Circles Initiative begins, building reciprocal relationships across socioeconomic lines to inspire and equip our community to end poverty. CPS and students become partners to break down barriers, change mindsets and transform our community.

eRace, an interracial dialogue group, begins meeting weekly.

Project Gettysburg-Leon in partnership with CPS begin the annual "Salsa on the Square" event to celebrate Adams County's own Hispanic Culture.
 2007 Through a generous donation by James Heston '70, The Heston Summer Experience begins by engaging students in community development internships in Gettysburg and Nicaragua.

Gettysburg College students receive the first Projects for Peace grant through the Davis World College Scholars Program. The first grant was used to establish the Campus Kitchen at Gettysburg College. In the five years following, students created innovative projects in Nepal, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Malawi.

The Campus Kitchen at Gettysburg College is established.

CPS joins GRAB to offer ASCENT pre-orientation Immersion Projects.

The Learning Circle model is incorporated into the curriculum for student Program Coordinators, challenging them to explore personal agency, race, gender and class issue more closely in order to create new insights for action.
 2009 NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education awarded the Heston Summer Experience with an International Education Knowledge Community Best Practices Award for a domestically-sponsored program that engages student in philanthropy and has an international focused service component.

The Heston Summer Experience expands, sending three students to Uganda through the Foundation for Sustainable Development.

nGender, a gender based dialogue group, begins.

CPS helps start the Adams County Food Policy Council to provide an integrated approach to food justice in the county.
 2010 CPS partners with the Office of Greek Organizations and the Office of Experiential Education to develop a 12-week leadership institute, which became a model for the Garthwait Leadership Center which was established the following year. 

Through the leadership of students, CPS established connection again in the Dominican Republic and sent a group during March break.

Gettysburg College students provide over 30,000 hours of service during the 2009-2010 academic year, doubling the hours served 20 years prior.
 2011 Working in conjunction with master percussionist Babatunde Lea, CPS facilitated a student institute, The Art of Change. Through workshops with three visiting artists and weekly interracial dialogue sessions, 15 students examined their lives and learned how to use art as an expression for social action. Culminating in a final performance, student participants performed their own songs, dances, poetry and prose to highlight social injustices in their lives, on campus and around the world.
 2012 The Campus Kitchen reaches a milestone by recovering 40,000 pounds of food and serving 25,000 meals to families in Adams County.

Trustee Enid Corkran '69developed a relationship with the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) as part of her role as a board member to Planned Parenthood of Bucks County. As a result, CPS established a partnership with KMET and moved the Heston Summer Experience from Uganda to Kenya to partner with KMET. 

CPS Celebrates 20 years!


Immersion Projects implement a student-leader focused model, engaging faculty and staff as project mentors.

CPS and Gettysburg College are recognized as one of three Presidential Awardees for General Community Service in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The first Social Justice Institute is offered, engaging students in a weekend learning experience. 

Surge launches -- a student blog examining systemic issues of justice, relating personal experiences to larger issues of equity, demonstrating that –isms are structural problems, not actions defined by individual prejudice.

CPS takes on management of the Painted Turtle Farm, transforming it into a campus community hub for food justice. Community members buy shares in the farm, receiving produce bags weekly. Immigrant and migrant families farm plots, working alongside students.

The Faculty Liaison for Community-Based Learning and Research position is revived.

Casa de la Cultura is formed, engaging local immigrant and migrant families in defining programs and initiatives to meet their needs. Subsequent programming includes the revival of swimming clinics, expansion of ESL classes, DACA clinics, immigrant rights workshops and more.


New endowed funds expand support for student participation in Immersion Projects and the CPS Summer Fellows Program.

The Social Justice Institute is expanded to include monthly workshops in response to strong student interest, combining into an initiative known as Learning for Social Justice.

Student interest in Immersion Projects continues to expand, with proposals from students to expand partnership sites to Morocco (2015), Cuba (2016) and Guatemala (2017).


Painted Turtle Farm is awarded a grant from the USDA to build a hoop house, extending the growing season.

An AmeriCorps*VISTA position is awarded to CPS and LIU #12 Migrant Education/21st Century Community Learning Center to increase access to post-secondary education opportunities for immigrant and migrant youth.

30 students, staff and alumni travel to Selma, AL to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March from Selma to Montgomery alongside our Lowndes County partners of 30+ years.


The Campus Kitchen serves it’s 50,000th meal, celebrating with our partners at the Gettysburg Senior Center.

CPS Summer Fellows sites expand to Kathmandu, Nepal, partnering with CAM, a children’s art museum established by Sneha Shrestha ’10.

New endowed funds support faculty development and implementation of community-based learning and research.

The Faculty Fellowship for Community-Based Learning engages seven faculty in a year-long learning and course-development process, in a partnership with the Office of the Provost.