Assumption Announces Center for Civic Friendship

Apr 19, 2024

President Greg Weiner announced this week that Assumption University is launching an innovative new Center for Civic Friendship, and that Dr. Mary Jane Rein has been appointed as the first Director of the center. 

The Center for Civic Friendship will embody the belief that ideas should be exchanged openly and disagreements should be voiced respectfully. Civic friendship itself is the friendship of citizens – members of a community whose disagreements occur within the context of common purpose. Among other efforts, the initiative will convene scholars who explore the concept of civic friendship, its possibilities and boundaries, and what makes it harder or easier to achieve. It will cultivate the virtue of civic friendship in students and teachers at Assumption and across the nation.

According to Thrive, Assumption’s new 10-year strategic plan, the establishment of a Center for Civic Friendship embodies Assumption’s Augustinian-inspired belief in the importance of friendship among citizens. Providing a national voice that explores how a sense of common purpose can help make disagreement productive rather than polarizing, the Center will be located in the Office of Academic Affairs and engage the entire campus community and beyond. 

Dr. Rein has most recently served as the Executive Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, a role she occupied from 2008 until her appointment at Assumption, which begins this week. Prior to that, she served as director of grants at Assumption. She holds a Ph.D. in. Classical Art and Archaeology from Harvard University. 

“Dr. Rein is an immensely talented and successful center director,” said Weiner.  “Please join me in welcoming her to Assumption. In the fullest spirit of civic friendship, I look forward to our campus community’s work together on this important initiative.”