Institute for Civic Involvement

Institute for Civic Involvement

"The establishment of the Institute for Civic Involvement at Pine Crest School has enabled the school to greatly expand the opportunities for responsible civic action among its students. The hope of our country is with our young people - young people who have the courage of informed conviction together with a determination to articulate it effectively. We must recognize the importance of specialized formal training, interspersed with internship, for the profession of public service".
In 1975, Pine Crest School began construction of the Institute for Civic Involvement (ICI). At the groundbreaking ceremony, then Headmaster William J. McMillan said, "As we break ground for the new Institute for Civic Involvement, we are taking an important step in laying the cornerstone for a more knowledgeable participation in the political process by tomorrow's leaders."

On October 29, 1976, the new building was opened with great celebration. The mayor of Fort Lauderdale, E. Clay Shaw, proclaimed October 29 to be Civic Involvement Day in the City of Fort Lauderdale. Students, parents, and more than 200 members of the community attended.

The Institute was made possible by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Friedman - a result of their commitment to American democracy and all its values. The Friedmans' belief in student citizenship made Pine Crest School a pioneer in this field for secondary education. At the time of completion, according to Pine Crest's founder, Dr. Mae McMillan, it was the only institute of its kind in America at the preparatory school level.

The ICI Today

Today, the two-story ICI building includes a lecture hall/auditorium with seating capacity for 396 people, a research and reference library, seminar rooms, classrooms and offices.

Over the years, the ICI has welcomed politicians, academics, and trailblazers in a variety of professional fields to Pine Crest. In its early years, ICI programming focused on American politics. In keeping with the School's mission of preparing students to meet the challenges of our future, the ICI has broadened its focus to include investigation of global issues by fostering dialogue between students, faculty, and guest presenters.

One of the programs organized and hosted by the ICI is the Holocaust Awareness Symposium. Each year, the entire freshman class has the opportunity to meet and speak with Holocaust survivors, hear stories of resilience, and ask questions.

The annual High School Voter Registration (HSVR) is also organized by the ICI with the help and support of the Broward Supervisor of Elections.

Recent Highlights of the ICI Program
  • National Book Award recipient, Jacqueline Woodson, spent two days on campus.
  • National Geographic photographer, Mike Hettwer, shared his experiences of dinosaur expeditions with the Lower School, and his story of Bangladeshi ship-breakers and creating social change with the Upper School.
  • As part of the Understanding Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the World Response Symposium, Dr. Nelson Bass (Nova Southeastern University), Dr. Eric Hanne (Florida Atlantic University), and Dr. Mark Luttio (Lynn University) responded to questions about how ISIS was established, what they are trying to achieve, and how the international community has responded to them.
  • To study the Syrian refugee crisis, student moderators led a discussion with guest speaker Dave Holzhauer, Regional Manager for Samaritan’s Purse in the Middle East and East Africa, about where refugees are going, and what they find when they reach their destinations.


ICI Coordinator