Madison Center for Civic Engagement at JMU announces new director

JMU Headlines

by Ginny Cramer


Harrisonburg, Virginia – The Madison Center for Civic Engagement is pleased to announce David Kirkpatrick as its next director.  

Kirkpatrick, an accomplished scholar and associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, has served as interim director of the center for the past year. During his tenure, Kirkpatrick launched new partnerships, including the Civic History Exchange, a study away program with Stanford’s Martin Luther King Institute, and with the Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy (ICSLD), which the center will host in September. He was recently named to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) civic engagement advisory committee, which is charged with helping shape civic education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is also completing his third book, under contract with Oxford University Press. 

Kirkpatrick brings a deep knowledge of the intersection of politics, religion and social movements to the Madison Center, a nonpartisan entity seeking to increase understanding and participation in the democratic process. 

Advancing the legacy of James Madison in civic engagement through citizenship and public responsibility is central to the university’s work to engage our community in being the change in the world. 

In a period in which many Americans have lost confidence in our political institutions and find politics to be too controversial, partisan, or divisive, the work of the Madison Center for Civic Engagement is pressing. 

As he looks toward the future, Kirkpatrick hopes to bring the resources of the university to advance ongoing work to rebuild trust – in each other, in our institutions, and in our democracy, all in the name of the common good. 

“I lead the Madison Center with confidence in the promise of our democracy. I am excited to bring people together, from across the political spectrum, to advance shared solutions and the common good.” 


Media contact: Ginny Cramer,, 540-568-5325

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Published: Monday, May 8, 2023

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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