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 2019 annual survey:

  • 80 percent of Pace Center students say service helps them feel like they belong at Princeton.
  • Two thirds of Pace Center students say the service they engage in impacts their future course-work and professional interests.
  • More than half of Pace Center students say service helps them grow and develop as individuals.

The Pace Center collaborates with more than 300 community partners each year. According to the Pace Center’s 2019 community partner survey:

  • 70 percent of community partners surveyed say Princeton students have a high impact at their organization.



What We Do

At the Pace Center, we help students learn to serve well and have a positive impact in the community. Through the Pace Center, students can learn alongside the community, help others, explore pressing societal issues, engage with faculty, advocate for change, and connect service to their academic pursuits with Service Focus, a new University program. With staff advisement, students learn to be well-prepared for service, to be intentional about the work they do, and to reflect thoughtfully about the service in which they engage.


“ For me, service gives purpose to my studies and my life. Whether I pursue research or business, or whatever I ultimately decide, I know that if I approach it with a service mindset it gives real purpose to the work I do.”

Moses Im ’20