The Bucknell Program for American Leadership is a campus association of faculty with student, staff, and Trustee affiliates, dedicated to university values of the Bucknell mission statement encouraging “different cultures and diverse perspectives.” Its focus on free speech in the tradition of the liberal arts finds inspiration in the ongoing friendship and dialogue of Profs. Cornel West of Union Theological Seminary and Robert George of Princeton across political differences. BPAL traces its origins to a 2017 scholarly symposium held at Bucknell to reflect on the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution and the tens of millions of deaths that resulted from it.

BPAL also finds inspiration in aspects of Bucknell’s history, as seen especially in foundational alumni heroes from early years who exemplify traditions of service-leadership in the liberal arts to which we aspire. Bucknell’s 1846 Charter in its preamble stated that the purpose of the university is “to promote the general interests of science, literature, and good morals,” and its current mission statement affirms cultural and intellectual diversity, to all of which we pledge our support in academic endeavors on campus. We are grateful to generous financial support of alumni through the Open Discourse Coalition for events involving a spectrum of cultural and intellectual perspectives. ‘Ray Bucknell!

Four early Bucknellians who inspire us

1. Andrew Gregg Tucker, Bucknell class of 1862, whose grave in Lewisburg near campus is pictured below, gave his life at Gettysburg supporting the republic and American ideals of liberty and justice.

2. Annie Bell, Class of 1858, Female Institute (at what became Bucknell), volunteered to serve as a nurse in the Civil War, rising to high administrative roles. She exemplified leadership as humanitarian service.

3. The Rev. Edward McKnight Brawley, Bucknell Class of 1875 (M.A. 1878), founded schools and institutions of higher learning exemplifying a positive relation between faith and liberal arts education.

4. George Henry Ramer, Class of 1950, Lewisburg High School civics teacher, gave his life in the Korean War resisting totalitarian oppression.