History of the Institute

Celebrating our 30 year anniversary in 2013, the Institute strives to embody President Dwight David Eisenhower's model of public policy formation and leadership, along with dynamic programs that engage scholars, policy-makers, students, and citizens.


The Eisenhower Institute & Gettysburg College Today

Gettysburg College cemented its strong affiliation with the Eisenhower Institute in 2006 and the Institute is now operated from two complementary sites. With offices in the heart of the nation's capital and in an historic home in Gettysburg once occupied by Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, the Institute remains a premier organization for research, discussion and outreach in issues of leadership and public policy.

Today, the Institute provides top-level dialogue among policy-makers and a premier learning experience for undergraduates by carefully blending the two. In 2008, a new leadership team was appointed with Jeffrey Blavatt serving as Executive Director and Susan Eisenhower as Chairman Emeritus.


Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College was originally founded in 1832 by anti-slavery theologian, Samuel Simon Schmucker; it now ranks among the best liberal arts colleges in the United States.

The College has long been associated with the life and legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower. When Lieutenant Eisenhower came to Gettysburg in 1918 to command a training base at Camp Colt, the College provided housing for the young officer and his new bride at the home of Alpha Upsilon, the Gettysburg Chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. After World War II, Eisenhower returned to accept an honorary doctorate. Following his presidency, Eisenhower retired to his farm in Gettysburg and took an active part in the life of the College, serving on the board of trustees and maintaining a campus office, where he wrote his memoirs.

It was in 1991 that Gettysburg College enhanced its engagement with the Eisenhower Institute. During the 1990s, the Institute worked hard to promote a stronger undergraduate educational focus on public affairs by sponsoring numerous programs that have linked education, scholarship and public policy.


Center for Political and Strategic Studies

In 2000, the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute merged with the programs of the Center for Political and Strategic Studies (CPSS) to create the Eisenhower Institute. Throughout the 1990s, CPSS had built a reputation as a leading organization for promoting informed debate on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union, and on international security issues. Addressing topics such as nuclear non-proliferation, NATO expansion, and National Missile Defense, the organization also conducted regional studies on such subjects as health and environmental degradation in Russia and the impact of emerging Islam in Central Asia.

With the merge of these two organizations, the Eisenhower Institute was officially created. Susan Eisenhower was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute. Its goals to this day remain the encouragement, development and sponsorship of civic discourse on significant issues of public policy, both domestic and international, through the rigorous pursuit of facts, respectful dialogue among stakeholders, and a focus on the future.


The Eisenhower World Affairs Institute

The Eisenhower World Affairs Institute was founded in 1983 by colleagues and confidants of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of the late President, was a founding director and later the first president of the Institute. She designed its US-Soviet program and remained with the Institute for several years to implement one of the nation's most renowned public policy programs on US-Soviet relations. The successes of the program and its emphasis on international cooperation and dialogue would go on to define the Institute's work for the next twenty years. Susan Eisenhower left the Institute in 1989 to found the Center for Political and Strategic Studies in 1991.