Lees-McRae College has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics, and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.
"Congratulations to Lees-McRae College and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
The Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
Lees-McRae was named to the Distinction List, an honor that was awarded to only four other universities in the state. Western Carolina University, Elon Univeristy and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte were also on the list.
"Being selected for inclusion on the President's Service Honor Roll with Distinction makes all of us at Lees-McRae proud; it is also a challenge for us to continue serving our local as well as extended communities in the years ahead," said Scott Colley, the interim president of Lees-McRae College.
"What we focus on at Lees-McRae is helping students create as many bridges as possible between what they are learning in the classroom and the experiences they are gaining outside of the classroom so that they are offered an integrated learning experience. We want to teach our students that being an active member in their communities and learning to truly hear the realities of their fellow citizens is very similar to learning to read a new text, and should be approached with the same amount of energy, time and patience," said Selena Hilemon, director of community outreach at Lees-McRae College. "Our goal as a liberal arts institution committed to service is to guide our students on their path to an integrated education and life while offering real opportunities for growth in the areas of civic engagement and leadership."
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.
The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.
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