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The Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research

The Elma Lewis Center (ELC) inspires and sustains civic engagement at Emerson College, using our distinct expertise in the arts and communication to serve the common good.

Through the Elma Lewis Center, Emerson seeks to uplift communities by bringing our strengths in communication and the arts to bear in supporting social change.

Dr. M. Lee Pelton announced the opening of the Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research at his inaugural address.

“Our nation looks to colleges and universities to help solve society’s most pressing problems. Just as we ask our students to share their talents and resources with those who have not had the good fortune to participate in the bounty of life, so, too, must Emerson College. Just as we ask students to live a life of no regrets and where they see wrong, to right; where they see hurt, to soothe; and where they see a broken heart, to mend it, so, too, must Emerson College.”

Our values uphold the belief that institutions of higher education have a responsibility to serve their local communities, that community partnerships are most meaningful when they are established with an ethic of care, respect, and collaboration, and that civic and community engagement cannot take place without a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and social justice.

The goals of the Elma Lewis Center are to:

  • Develop a culture of civic mindedness and civic action at Emerson;
  • Bring our distinct expertise in the arts and communication to bear in serving the public good through school and community partnerships;
  • Measure the effectiveness of Emerson’s civic action activities and contribute to the dissemination of knowledge regarding the ways in which creative expression might serve the common good through civic engagement;
  • Provide a platform for civil discourse about issues of social consequence; and
  • Develop the necessary infrastructure to support the growth of civic engagement at Emerson.
Kelly Bates

Kelly Bates, Esq., founding executive director of the Elma Lewis Center.

Emerson College welcomes Kelly Bates, Esq., as the founding executive director of the ELC. Read more »