About the Center

Marx Hall at night

“The University Center has provoked not one or two, but thousands of students … to tackle important ethical questions, central to living a more examined life and creating a better society…. [It is] nothing less, to my mind, than the ideal collegial environment for doing this important work, unsurpassed anywhere in the world.”

- Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania and founding director of the UCHV, on the occasion of the Center’s 25th anniversary.

Established in 1990 through the generosity of Laurance S. Rockefeller ‘32, the University Center for Human Values fosters ongoing inquiry into important ethical issues in private and public life and supports teaching, research, and discussion of ethics and human values throughout the curriculum and across the disciplines at Princeton University.

Today, the Center is the hub of a lively and exciting community that brings together Princeton faculty members, graduate students, undergraduates, visiting faculty fellows and other visitors. The Center is home to a growing number of faculty members with teaching and research interests in various aspects of human values, most of whom are jointly appointed in their disciplines. It sponsors a series of Freshman Seminars. The undergraduate certificate program in Values and Public Life defines a pathway through the curriculum for students interested in developing a focus on human values. We sponsor an array of activities, from specialized seminars and lectures to large campus events, aimed to stimulate and inform members of the Center and of the greater campus community. And we support research on human values by Princeton faculty members, graduate students and undergraduates. Through all of these activities the Center strives to provide the larger community with the space and resources to reflect systematically about fundamental questions of value—how we should understand our moral identities, how we should treat each other, and how we should try to shape our world.