The Pamplin Society was founded at Lewis & Clark College on June 4, 1993. The Society’s mission is to nurture new generations of leaders by singling out and bringing together teachers and students of the highest caliber in a lifelong association that begins with study at the College. In its programs and through the achievements of its members, the Society promotes the challenges and rewards of leadership in a global society. It also underscores the responsibility of the College to the greater community. Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., an exemplary alumnus of the College, initiated the endowment that sustains the Society during his five-year term as Chair of the Board of Trustees. His hope is that the Society, which emulates the purpose and standards of the Rhodes Scholar program, will be a model for other American liberal arts colleges.
Now in its nineteenth academic year, the Society’s membership stands at one hundred and forty-eight. Membership is extended to seven students each year as they begin their second year at the College. It is the highest honor bestowed by the College on its students. Upon graduation, Fellows maintain their membership for life. Endowed professors are also members of the Society. The four endowed chairs are now filled: Janis Lochner became the Pamplin Professor of Science in the fall of 1995; Curtis Johnson was named Pamplin Professor of Government during the 1998-1999 academic year; Arthur O’Sullivan became the Pamplin Professor of Economics in 2001; and David Campion succeeded Stephen Beckham as the Pamplin Professor of History in 2011. As teaching scholars distinguished by sustained achievements in their disciplines and committed service to both academic and broader communities, they exercise leadership and use their talents to the fullest.
The students who are named Pamplin Fellows must meet and maintain the following standards: (1) superior intellectual promise and performance in a challenging academic program, with a minimum cumulative 3.7 grade point average at the college; (2) demonstrated dedication to community welfare and to the use of leadership on behalf of a free and democratic society; (3) commitment to physical fitness; and (4) unimpeachable integrity. All student Fellows receive an academic support stipend which partially subsidizes the cost of books and thesis research. Financial aid is extended from the Society’s endowment to those Fellows who demonstrate need as determined by federal need-analysis guidelines to guarantee they will not have to use loan programs to meet the cost of tuition and fees.
The student Fellows determine, organize, and implement a number of programs that are sponsored by the Society to enhance the co-curricular educational environment of the College. For example, an annual Distinguished Visiting Scholar Program engages the participation of the greater academic and civic community. Alumni Fellows are expected to advance the goals of the Society by engaging with the current members, contributing perspectives and expertise in the areas of their academic, professional, and civic life and sharing their leadership experiences in service to society.