The Bob Graham Center for Public Service was established at the University of Florida in 2006 by former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham to create a community of students, scholars, and citizens who share a commitment to revitalizing the civic culture of Florida and the nation.
The Center is driven by three central principles: civic engagement, public leadership and public service.
“Since my retirement from the U.S. Senate in 2005, I have become increasingly involved in the effort to transform civics from a spectator sport into a participatory sport — one in which citizens directly engage in democracy and shape local, state and federal policies to the betterment of their families and communities,” writes Sen. Graham in his book America: The Owner’s Manual.
“Through my involvement in this effort, I have become convinced that many Americans would embrace active citizenship if they just knew how.”
The Bob Graham Center continues to build on the Senator’s legacy and his dedication to the idea that the next generation of leaders need a firm grounding in democratic government and command of the tools of civic engagement to discharge their rights and responsibilities as a citizen of the United States.
Students from all areas of UF are provided with outstanding opportunities to combine academic coursework with a living curriculum of internships, hands-on research and guest lectures by some of the most prominent leaders in public service today.
The public at large is invited to attend frequent lectures and programs on relevant political and non-political topics in the Center’s events venue, the Ocora, a word translated from the Timucuan Native American language meaning “place of gathering.”
The Center also partners with local and state governments, universities, institutes, NGOs and other civic institutions of common purpose to extend its efforts and facilitate initiatives of engagement, leadership and service.
The Bob Graham Center for Public Service is a nonpartisan civic engagement center, and as such does not endorse candidates or take stances on public policy issues.
The Center is located on the second floor of Pugh Hall, and stands at the cornerstone of the University’s academic, intellectual and civic life. (Search Pugh Hall on the University of Florida campus map to locate the Center.)