Improving Civic Dialogue in America: A Congressman’s Perspective

On Feb. 23 the Office of the Provost hosted the third installment in the North Star Seminar series featuring the Honorable Gil Cisneros who discussed the role of society and universities in achieving our common purpose. Cisneros is a philanthropist and former politician who served as the U.S. Representative for California's 39th congressional district from 2019 to 2021.

Gil Cisneros

The 45-minute event featured a conversation with Cisneros, Provost and Executive Vice President Ben Vinson III and Dr. Peter Shulman who is an associate professor in the Department of History and an expert in American politics. During the talk, Cisneros expounded upon his personal journey into congress, improving civic dialogue, the university's role in developing citizen leaders, and lessons learned during his time in congress that can help our country heal.

This event was sponsored by Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Case Western Reserve University College of Arts and Sciences Military Ethics program. Graduates of this course of study, the only dedicated master’s program of its kind in the United States, are able to bring a unique perspective to careers in military service, law, humanities, and public service. Over the course of 12 to 24 months, students immerse themselves in topics ranging from military and professional ethics to leadership and law.

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About the Honorable Gil Cisneros

The Honorable Gil Cisneros is a philanthropist and former politician who served as the U.S. Representative for California's 39th congressional district from 2019 to 2021.The son of a public school cafeteria worker and a Vietnam veteran, Gil attended college on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) scholarship, and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from The George Washington University. Gil also holds an MBA from Regis University and M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Brown.

Through ten years of service as a U.S. Naval Officer, Gil was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his exemplary service to his country.

Gil is the Veterans, Education Advocate and co-founder of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, an organization committed to strengthening public schools, and creating college opportunities for students and veterans.  He also served on the advisory board of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative for college access.

Gil’s dedication toward philanthropy began when he purchased a winning California Mega Millions lottery ticket in 2010. Gil and his wife Jacki partnered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the city of Pico Rivera, California to create Generation First Degree Pico Rivera, with the goal of putting a college degree in every household in the city. Gil has worked to strengthen schools, and promote access to quality education by supporting Yellow Ribbon programs for Veterans, establishing scholarships, and creating an endowment for the dependents of former Navy Supply Corps personnel, so that tuition costs are never a barrier to educational opportunities.

Learn More about Gil