Pace Center for Civic Engagement

As Princeton University celebrated its 250th anniversary on Charter Day in 1996, economics professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 announced plans to form a new center for community service at Princeton University — an endeavor that would not only pay
homage to the University’s informal motto “Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity,” but also strengthen and expand upon the University’s long-standing tradition of service and civic engagement.

Fueled by this call to action, John Pace Jr. ’39, John C. Bogle ’51, Carl Ferenbach ’64, Peter Ochs ’65 and many other contributors joined the movement, forging a path to create the Pace Center in 2001.

Who We Are

The mission of the Pace Center is to make civic engagement part of the Princeton student experience. At the Pace Center, we help students learn how to do service well and make a positive impact in the community and around the world.  Our work is informed by four core values:

Engaged Discovery — Students can learn how to serve, why to serve and from service.

Community Focus — Supporting student ideas and guiding students in the process of becoming informed, aware and responsible citizens.

Impactful Programs — Service is meaningful when students both grow as individuals and respond to the needs of the world.

Student Leadership— Students doing service lead in ways that go beyond position, title or role.

Our impact

What do Pace Center students say they learn from service?
According to the Pace Center’s fall 2015 participation survey:

  • 89 percent of Pace Center students say service helps them feel like they belong at Princeton.
  • 82 percent of Pace Center student leaders say service helps them learn more about themselves and how to become a better mentor and leader.
  • Three out of five Pace Center students say engaging in service changes their perspective of what makes service meaningful.
  • More than half of Pace Center students say service impacts their coursework and professional interests.

What We Do

At the Pace Center, we help students learn to do service well and have a positive
impact in the community. Through sustained volunteering, community immersion,
student advocacy and activism, summer internships and post-graduate fellowships,
students gain the knowledge, values and skills to do meaningful work and live
a meaningful life. With staff advisement, students learn to be well-prepared, to be
intentional about the work they do and to reflect thoughtfully about the service
they engage in.


“ Within the first weeks of my freshman year, there were two places on campus that felt like home: my residential college and also the Pace Lounge in Frist. … Service and civic engagement has consistently given me three crucial things: a sense of belonging in a greater community, a feeling of groundedness and the opportunity to immerse myself in the work I care about.”

Andrew Nelson ’16