About Us

Dr. Howard Thurman believed in the unity of all people and that meaningful, creative experiences shared among people for sustained periods of time can help break barriers that divide people. The Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, founded in 1986 by Dean George K. Makechnie, strives to keep Dr. Thurman’s legacy alive by providing programs to students.

While our myriad programs is how we keep Dr. Thurman’s legacy alive, the more important consideration is why we do what we do. Boston University was once affiliated with the United Methodist Church and although BU is now considered nonsectarian, the spiritual development of students has never been more pressing with college students reporting feeling generally more spiritual than religious. Additionally, all people struggle with developing a sense of identity with regard to race, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and religion and understanding how that identity affects their interactions with others. It is in this context that the HTC encourages students to:

  • Be introspective to learn who they are
  • Expand their horizons and be more contemplative about pressing social issues
  • Navigate ever-shifting cultural boundaries in a globalized society

The HTC doesn’t shy away from asking students difficult questions about who they are and how they fit into the world. As a result, students who become involved with the HTC learn more about themselves as intellectual, social, and spiritual beings. They frequently report a sense of connectedness to each other that is deep and meaningful. Our students also state that they meet people from all walks of life and their identities are enriched by their expanding social circles.

We welcome all students regardless of their background, experiences, or circumstance and actively recruit with a commitment to diversity in all of its forms.

The Howard Thurman Center is a department under the Dean of Students.

Operating Hours

Academic Year:

Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Weekends and official University holidays: Closed


Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends and official University holidays: Closed

*Please note that during the summer, all programs normally offered during the academic year are suspended.