The South Dakota Board of Regents established the W. O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership in the fall of 1997 as a Center of Excellence. The Center is housed within the Department of Political Science and offers a minor in Civic Leadership Studies. The term “civic” was chosen to emphasize that the Center’s focus is not narrowly governmental but rather broadly inclusive of all aspects of our lives together as citizens of a community, state, nation, and world. The mission of the Center is to prepare students and help communities to face difficult public problems in a manner consistent with constitutional values. The Center fosters responsible and ethical leadership through education, service, and scholarship in the public interest.
The W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership was founded on the belief that there is leadership within every person. Its initiative stresses the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasizes leadership as a process, not just a position. Viewed in this way, leadership requires responsible action of individuals in every part of society—not simply those in formal leadership roles.