About the CIL

About the Center for Innovation and Leadership

Swarthmore College has a long history of attracting students who are able to think “outside the box” and approach issues and problems from unique and novel perspectives.  The Center for Innovation and Leadership provides students with the tools they need to grow and evolve their ideas from a thought bubble to application and implementation.  The CIL is focused on cultivating mentoring relationships, building capacity for entrepreneurship and leadership, and fostering collaboration and innovation while promoting experimentation, collaboration, and reflection.  

The Center for Innovation and Leadership (CIL) began at Swarthmore in the fall of 2013 as an outcome of the Strategic Directions of the College. It builds upon and works in conjunction with a solid foundation of resources and programs already in place, including:


Vision Statement

Develop leaders who are ambitious, agile, creative, collaborative, inspirational, and cross-culturally fluent, in addition to being genuinely caring people who are just plain Swarthmore Smart. The CIL provides students with the tools and resources they need to grow ideas into realities. 

Mission Statement

Engage Innovative Thinking to Foster Student Leadership Practice.

Core Components

  • Student Leadership Development: The CIL partners with other campus entities to provide students -- and to build the skills -- they need to succeed in leadership, community building, and organizational development.
  • Innovative Programming: The CIL brings together students, faculty, and staff to collaborate on designing and implementing programs that provide opportunities for students to combine their in-classroom and out-of-classroom experiences in dynamic ways. 
  • Alumni Engagement and Mentoring: The CIL considers Swarthmore's great resource its alumni body. Thus, it functions as an entry point for alums to connect and build mentoring relationships with current students.