About the Center for Civic Leadership

Jim Ryan dedicated decades of his professional life to public service and promoting civic values in Illinois. A respected Catholic leader and proud resident of Illinois, Ryan’s patriotism and commitment to community are unmatched. His service to the state included eight years as Illinois attorney general, 10 years in the DuPage County State’s Attorney Office as lead prosecutor, and two bids for governor in 2002 and 2010.

In partnership with the Benedictine University Board of Trustees and the Political Science faculty, Ryan established the Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) at the University in 2005 and played a pivotal role in offering programs, internships, conferences and a regular speaker series that was, and continues to be, free and open to the general public. The CCL was established to promote the values of leadership, service and public education in Illinois, and to transform the state’s political culture from one associated with corruption and graft to one that could be seen as an exemplar around the country.

Named a Distinguished Fellow at his alma mater in 2003, Ryan also taught Political Science and Criminal Justice courses at the University. The 1968 Benedictine graduate emphasized core American values, the importance of ethics and morality in everyday life, and the inspirational story of the founding of the United States.

The CCL is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving discourse and the political culture in the state of Illinois by encouraging civil, open dialogue across political boundaries, often dealing with difficult social and economic issues and policies. At a time of deep polarization in the electorate and among our elected officials, the Center seeks to provide a professional, safe environment for addressing the challenging issues of our time. For more information, download the CCL brochure or connect with us.

“The response to bad government isn’t apathy, it’s action. You’ve got to do something.”
- Jim Ryan, former Illinois attorney general

Our Mission

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) at Benedictine University seeks to be an exemplar institution that promotes civic engagement, public service, public education and civic leadership in Illinois.

The CCL promotes bipartisanship and respectful discourse covering the pressing issues and challenges facing local governments in Illinois, our state leadership in Springfield and our national leaders in Washington, D.C.

Our Goals

  • Encourage young people to become involved and pursue opportunities in government as the “next generation of civic leaders” in Illinois.
  • Promote the values of bipartisanship and civil debate.
  • Work with policymakers to find solutions to the many challenges we face across all levels of government.
  • Cultivate a better, healthier political culture in Illinois.

The Center for Civic Leadership

For more information, contact
ccl@ben.edu or (630) 829-6460.