Widener Named Finalist for Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Presidential Award

Widener University has been selected as a Presidential Award Finalist for the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Widener, which has been named to the honor roll every year since its inception in 2006, was one of only 14 institutions nationwide to be named a Presidential Award Finalist, and one of only 113 institutions to make the honor roll “With Distinction.”

"To be named a Presidential Award Finalist is a tribute to the students, faculty and staff of Widener University and their dedication to our civic engagement mission," said Widener University President James T. Harris III. "It is also a testament to the willingness and enthusiasm of the community organizations we partner with in Chester, Delaware and Harrisburg. These initiatives are successful because we all work together as one."

This year, Widener was honored for three exemplary civic engagement initiatives:

  • The Widener Partnership Charter School (WPCS): The first university-based charter school in Pennsylvania, WPCS currently serves about 400 students in grades K-7. The school, which takes a holistic approach to education, serves the children and families of Chester. The WPCS aims to achieve three specific goals: to increase the number of STEM-prepared, college-eligible high school graduates; to strengthen students' preparation for STEM-focused high school education; and to enhance parents' capacity to support their child's academic success.
  • The Widener University Child Development Center: Created in 1981 to provide quality early childhood education for children ages 3 to 6, the center strives to be a model early childhood program for families, future teacher candidates, university students, faculty members, and the community. Fifty percent of the children represent low-income families, and about 25 percent live in the city of Chester.
  • The College Access Center of Delaware County: An initiative of the Chester Higher Education Council, a consortium of six area colleges and universities, the College Access Center of Delaware County provides county residents with college and career awareness, study skills development, tutoring, mentoring, and assistance with their college application and financial aid process.

In recent years, Newsweek ranked Widener among the top service-minded colleges and universities in the nation. The university has also ranked among the top institutions in the annual Washington Monthly rankings since the magazine's inaugural college issue in 2005. In addition, Widener was among the first universities in the nation to be categorized as a "community engagement" institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the Honor Roll, admitted a total of 690 colleges and universities. Of that total, 572were named to the Honor Roll, 113 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as Presidential Award Finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.

"We congratulate the awardees and the students for their dedication to service," said Wendy Spencer, chief executive officer of CNCS. "These institutions have inspired students and faculty alike to roll up their sleeves and work alongside members of the community to solve problems and improve their neighbors' lives."

"Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Civic engagement should be a key component of every student's education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens."

CNCS manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the American Council on Education and Campus Compact. For a full list of recipients, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation's leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. These are institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Through the agency's Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program, CNCS gives education institutions access to tens of thousands of AmeriCorps alumni with millions of dollars in Segal Education Awards for tuitions and fees. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.


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