“There can be no greater need in today’s America than a movement away from the fringes of destructive, overly partisan rhetoric and toward a robust national conversation where respect and thoughtful discourse are once again valued.”

— Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield

Our Mission

The mission of the Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications is to serve as an active center for the study and promotion of civil political discourse, inspire intelligent, authentic and constructive debate, and encourage positive civic engagement for both students and the public alike. We seek to demonstrate that when opposing viewpoints are respected and legitimized in ways that avoid negative labeling, alienation, and silencing, it can strengthen our nation’s ability to better challenges and solve problems.


Our Purpose and Goals

“How we as citizens persuade, advocate and converse with one another across competing opinions is of utmost importance to the future health of our democracy. As citizens and voters, we need to address our divisions and learn how to talk to each other again in a civil manner.”

Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D., President, Shepherd University

The Stubblefield Institute seeks to be a trusted resource and important voice in the quest for improved political civility and constructive debate. Our approach is to focus on the root of the topic instead of skimming the surface and stay true to our four strategic goals.



The Stubblefield Institute’s Four Strategic Goals:

  • Provide high-quality, continuous public and student forums for civil discussion of critical, cultural and political issues to model reasoned understanding.

  • Develop, implement and expand the highest quality curricular application of civil political communications, including pioneering research and the creation of knowledge.
  • Establish the Institute as a major national and international actor in the arena of civil political discourse and the fostering of greater civic engagement

  • Engage a national community of strategic partners funders to enable intellectual and financial growth of all activities


Our Values

The Institute’s leadership is committed to promoting and maintaining a strong set of values among its

faculty and students, its guests, its financial and programmatic partners, and all who engage in the Institute’s work. These values include:

  • Respect for all viewpoints and perspectives
  • Argumentation based on reason and logic
  • Honesty in all presentations and discussions
  • Academic integrity in research and instruction
  • Creativity in pursuing the Institute’s mission
  • Transparency in all transaction


Friends of The Stubblefield Institute

Friends of the Stubblefield Institute is a special way to support this important forum series and belong to a community that believes in positive discourse and constructive debate. Your support will allow the Stubblefield Institute to maintain and grow its programs and events, such as the American Conversation Series, our student-focused Listen.Learn.Engage. Initiative, a national research program focused on civility, our Student Leadership Academy, and support for our outstanding Debate and Forensics Team. It will also help support our new undergraduate program in Political Communications that will provide quality education to our next generation of public and policy communications spokespersons and strategists.

Individuals can join at our Gold ($500), Silver ($250), or Bronze ($100) levels. All members will be listed in our forum programs. Gold members will be invited to all pre-event presidential receptions. Silver members will receive two invitations to presidential receptions. Bronze members will receive one invitation.

To give online, use the form below.

To give by mail, download a gift form and mail the completed form and your check to:

Attn: Mona Kissel
PO Box 5000
Shepherdstown, WV 25443


Please make checks payable to Shepherd University Foundation. On the form, under “Please designate my gift to:”, be sure to check “Other” and write in Friends of Stubblefield.

For assistance on any type of gift, contact:

Meg Patterson, Director of Donor Relations

Shepherd University Foundation