BY ADVENTIST NEWS NETWORK staff
La Sierra University was one of five educational institutions named a Presidential Awardee in the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university in the United States can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
La Sierra, a Seventh-day Adventist university located in Riverside, California, received the award for its efforts to improve educational and developmental outcomes for children in distressed areas.
At a March 4, 2013, ceremony in Washington, D.C., La Sierra president Randal Wisbey received the 2013 Presidential Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) during the annual meeting of the American Council on Education.
“Service to others is a key part of La Sierra’s mission and indicative of the Christian ethos that drives our work as a learning community,” Wisbey said. “I am humbled by the way in which students, faculty, and staff daily live out this value through formal and informal outreach efforts to help people in local and global communities.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, special assistant to President Barack Obama, and Wendy Spencer, CNCS CEO, presented the award.
Projects in La Sierra’s Promise Neighborhoods initiative included tutoring and mentoring elementary students, fund-raising for after-school programs in the surrounding public school district, and interactive learning experiences created by biology and communication students in the university’s natural history museum.
Total service hours, including all campus service and overseas missions, culminated in nearly 1,900 students fulfilling almost 85,000 hours. For academic service-learning classes alone, about 900 La Sierra students provided more than 14,000 hours of service.
The four other 2013 Presidential Award winners were Georgia Perimeter College in Georgia, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, and Nazareth College in New York. A total of 690 higher educational institutions were named this year to the organization’s honor roll.
CNCS, an independent federal agency, has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.