Eisenhower Institute launches new center for the study of presidential leadership

“Getting people excited and getting people to learn about the value of government service—that to me is so important,” said Fred Fielding ’61.

A Gettysburg alumnus, Fielding was honored last month for his public service at the launch of a center for presidential leadership study as part of The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College.  Named the Fred F. Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study, the center will help students learn the value of government service and civic engagement through analyzing presidential administrations.

“I first learned of the following Plato quote when I was a student at Gettysburg: the penalty for wise men who decline to participate in their governance is to be ruled by unwise men,” said Fielding. “That’s the essence of what we’d like to get across to students so they understand the value and need of studying leadership not only as a historic event, but also in real life. Also, the need for civic engagement must be understood.”

Fielding—currently a law partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington, D.C. and the chair of the Eisenhower Institute’s National Advisory Council—offers a unique perspective on White House leadership, gained from his service as Deputy Counsel to President Richard Nixon and later as White House Counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He also served on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission. Fielding brings years of experience, connections, and knowledge to Gettysburg, the Eisenhower Institute, and our students.

“Not many people know what Mr. Fielding has done—devoting his career to government and public service. It takes a lot, and it’s something to be commended,” said Conor Barry ’16, a member of the inaugural class of Fielding Fellows, the group of students who are part of the program.

“It’s been great to get to know this incredible figure who’s been so involved in a lot of American politics and government throughout the last 30 years. He’s kind of a grandfather figure – sharing his insights and the different things that he’s learned along the way."


Fielding’s breadth of experience is not to be outmatched by his humility.

“Quite frankly, I had a hard time hearing them being referred to as Fielding Fellows, named after me,” he said. “But once you meet these kids—this first class of fellows—it makes you very proud. They’re terrific.”

In addition to Fielding’s mentorship, The Fielding Center is led by Washington professionals and experts connected to the Eisenhower Institute, including Kasey Pipes, Norris Fellow of Public Policy; Richard Norton Smith, noted presidential historian; and Shirley Anne Warshaw, Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies, professor of political science at Gettysburg College.

“For many years, Fred F. Fielding has been an inspiration to our students. He has worked closely with numerous individual students and classes, offering invaluable career advice and insights into how Washington works,” said Warshaw. “His commitment to public service and civic engagement has been evident in every meeting that our students have had with him.”

Throughout the academic year, the Fielding Fellows will also have the opportunity to meet with the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, visit presidential libraries, tour the White House, and network with presidential scholars, insiders, and public servants. At the same time, the Fellows will facilitate campus events to engage the general public in their studies. Every component of the program is designed to guide and shape their paths as our nation’s future leaders, elected officials, and public servants.

“We tasked the Fielding Fellows with telling us what they want to see,” said Fielding. “It’s been wonderful watching everything come together. This is an important milestone in Gettysburg College’s service to its students because it adds an additional dimension to what we offer. This is a very exciting time for the College and The Eisenhower Institute.”


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Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Thu, 15 Oct 2015

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