Harry Boyte is founder of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, now the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, where he is Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy. In 2011-12 Boyte was National Coordinator of the American Commonwealth Partnership, a coalition of colleges and universities promoting the idea of higher education as a public good. An edited book collection from the ACP, Democracy's Education: Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges and Universities, was recently published by Vanderbilt University Press.
Boyte is also founder of Public Achievement, an initiative for empowering citizenship education used in schools, universities, and communities across the United States and in more than a dozen countries. As a college student in the 1960s, he worked as a Field Secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Boyte served as national coordinator of the New Citizenship (1993 to 1995), a broad crosspartisan effort to bridge the citizen-government gap. He presented New Citizenship findings to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and other administration leaders at a 1995 Camp David Seminar on the future of democracy, a presentation which helped to shape Clinton's "New Covenant" State of the Union that year. Boyte has also served as a senior adviser to the National Commission on Civic Renewal, and as national associate of the Kettering Foundation. He has worked with a variety of foundations, nonprofit, educational, neighborhood and citizen organizations concerned with community development, citizenship education, and civic renewal. Boyte is author or co-author of a number of books including also:
The Citizen Solution: How You Can Make a Difference (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2008); Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work, with Nan Kari (Temple University Press, 1996); Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America, with Sara M. Evans (Harper & Row, 1986; University of Chicago, 1992)
His writings have appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, Christian Science Monitor, Democracy, Policy Review, Dissent, and Political Theory. His political commentary has appeared on CBS Morning and Evening News and National Public Radio.
Boyte earned a doctorate degree in political and social thought from the Union Institute. In the 1960s he worked as a field secretary in the civil rights movement for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization headed by Martin Luther King.