Amanda Moore McBride

For Amanda Moore McBride, civic engagement and service have been her research and teaching focus, and a calling she seeks to inspire in others. As Executive Director of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, she opens doors for countless individuals across the university and beyond to become engaged citizens and realize their potential as civic agents.

Amanda’s journey at Washington University began 23 years ago as a graduate student in the Brown School of Social Work where she earned her MSW and PhD. She served as Associate Dean of Social Work, and is the Bettie Bofinger Brown Associate Professor and the Faculty Director of Civic Engagement and Service at the Center for Social Development. Amanda is an internationally recognized expert in civic and community engagement and has offered her expertise to important local and global dialogues. She has consulted with the United States Corporation for National and Community Service, the United Nations Volunteer Program, and the Social Science Research Council, and has supported the work of St. Louis organizations including United Way of Greater St. Louis, Wyman Center, and Brittany Woods Middle School.

She was appointed director of the Gephardt Institute in 2006, focusing the institute’s work on championing and developing civic engagement across the university. The institute’s many signature initiatives—including the Civic Scholars Program, the Goldman Fellows Program, and the Civic Engagement Fund—are a result of her vision and leadership.

Amanda often remarks that she could not have imagined these achievements coming from a small, rural town in Arkansas if not for the support and philanthropy of local civic leaders, who anonymously funded her first visit to Washington, DC as a high school student. That support catalyzed her education and career, and has in turn transformed the lives of innumerable students who have been inspired to weave civic engagement into their lives and work, as she has done. She advocates for the power of democratic participation, civic dialogue, and knowing our neighbors.

The award’s namesake Bob Virgil recently commented on Amanda’s leadership of the Gephardt Institute: “She started with a concept, on a completely blank sheet of paper, and she built the institute to what it is today.” A celebrated teacher and mentor with an endlessly gracious spirit, Amanda is a tireless champion for advancing the civic mission of higher education. As her colleague Jenni Harpring notes, “At the core of Amanda’s being is a belief in community and justice, and this is echoed in all that she does.”