Already a well-known figure on campus, Rev. Meisel is eager to share his vision for the future of national and community service with everyone. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious and Coe's graduates will be engaged, uplifted, and inspired by his presence in their midst. Coe College, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a liberal arts institution that believes it is important to cultivate in students a desire to understand, a capacity for tolerance, and an ability to appreciate the ethnic and cultural diversity that make up humankind.
Since January, Meisel has served as the founding director of the Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Meisel earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University in 1982 and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1998. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and describes himself as an “AmeriCorps Chaplain.”
Determined to wake up his slumbering generation, Meisel embarked on an initiative to rebuild a student movement for his peers around community service and social justice. In 1983, he launched COOL (Campus Outreach Opportunity League), an organization which organizes thousands of students on hundreds of college campuses to create campus-wide community services programs.
In 1989, Meisel became the founding president of the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in Princeton, N.J., a major philanthropic initiative to address issues of hunger and education. The major initiative of the Bonner Foundation is the Bonner Scholars Program, a service-based scholarship that provides “access to education and an opportunity to serve.” Currently, more than 3,000 students serve in the Bonner Scholars and Bonner Leaders Programs at over 80 colleges and universities throughout the country. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed Meisel to serve on the Commission for National and Community Service. Meisel was one of the primary architects of AmeriCorps, the originator of National Youth Service Day and a founding board member of Teach for America.
In 2010, Meisel left the Bonner Foundation and became director of faith and service at the Cousins Foundation in Atlanta. While there he launched FAITH3 as an initiative to support young adults to connect their commitment for service and justice with their passion in spiritual exploration, faith formation and vocational discernment.
The programs developed through FAITH3 have been incorporated into the Center for Faith and Service. The center develops programs through partnerships with local congregations and national church offices for a generation defined by their commitment to service and justice. The center also seeks to renew theological education through collective efforts to recruit, train and launch individuals into both traditional and new forms of ministry.