For as long as Americans have thought about higher education they have hoped that it would lead to civic engagement. The Massachusetts Bay Colony supported Harvard University because it trained ministers--the cornerstone of most Puritan communities. Benjamin Rush, physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, proposed the creation of a Federal University in 1786 to train public servants for the new nation. And every variety of college and university--from private universities to community colleges--proclaims a civic mission.
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