Saint Mary's College of California has received another prestigious national honor for community service with a place on the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.
The President's Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. This is the sixth year in a row Saint Mary's has been recognized for its community service initiatives and the College is one of four institutions of higher education in the region to receive the mark of distinction from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which has administered the national program since 2006.
"This award reflects the College’s mission of social justice, commitment to service for the common good and steadfast belief in civic engagement as fundamental to educating our students to become global and ethical citizens," said Brother President Ronald Gallagher. "We are proud of the many students, faculty and staff who work to make a difference with our community partners here in the Bay Area and internationally."
Honorees were selected based on a series of factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the dedication a school has demonstrated to civic engagement and academic service-learning courses.
In the last academic year, Saint Mary's students provided almost 40,000 hours of service for their participation in international service-learning courses and with front line community-based organizations across the Bay Area.
Marshall Welch, the director of the College's Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Justice (CILSA), which collaborates with faculty members on academic courses with community-based service-learning components, said Saint Mary's was recognized for a variety of service learning outreach efforts, and two in particular. "The projects that stood out with the CNCS were a School of Science initiative that provided environmental education and math camps to gifted but under-resourced high school students," said Welch. He added that the College was also recognized for its efforts in developing student leadership as a form of community engagement.
"CNCS was impressed by the College's role in sponsoring a regional conference on leadership in the fall and generating research that benefits the community at large through our Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Organization Studies program, Welch said. "This is a significant shift from traditional direct service to leadership roles that make a difference in the community."
642 colleges and universities across the nation were recognized for community service programs addressing issues, including leadership development, fostering academic opportunities for under-resourced high school students, neighborhood revitalization efforts and supporting at-risk youth. 513 institutions were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the highest honor, the Presidential Award.
The CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. The federal agency engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
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