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The Social Justice Institute

The Social Justice Institute, at Philander Smith College, is transforming the college into a social justice institution of higher education through community engagement, student development, research and academic activities.
To create a culture where social justice is a permanent part of the institutional make-up by engendering a community of consciousness, academic engagement, and advocacy grounded in justice.
To cultivate consciousness, provide intellectual activities, and engage student /communities through social justice centered work.
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History of The Social Justice Institute

Philander Smith College launched its Social Justice Institute (SJI) in August of 2007 under the leadership and vision of President Walter M. Kimbrough. With support and backing from faculty, alumni, students and the board of trustees, Philander Smith College changed its mission " to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better ." This rebranding of the college's identity compliments Philander's history, which has always had a social justice focus, as well as its commitment to the social principles of the United Methodist Church.

Following the changing of the college mission, other critical milestones followed:

  • The inclusion of special guest speakers and justice themes for Opening Convocation
  • Inviting Bless The Mic lecturers who are renowned for their noteworthy activism
  • The creation of the Ozell Sutton Medal of Justice
  • The infusion of social justice themes in the Freshman Colloquium
  • Increase of Justice-related internships for students
  • Changing the College's address to honor social justice activist Daisy L. Gatson Bates
  • The founding of the student organization "The Social Justice League"





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