Nation’s Top Colleges for Community Service Receive Presidential Recognition

Nation’s Top Colleges for Community Service Receive Presidential Recognition
May 12, 2011

6 Institutions Receive Presidential Award, 641 Recognized Overall

Washington, D.C. – As colleges across the country honor their graduates this commencement season, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today honored the nation's leading institutions of higher education for their support of volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

Six colleges and universities received Presidential Awards in the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered theHonor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 511 were named to the Honor Roll, 114 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 11 were identified as finalists, and six received the Presidential Award.

"As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions," said Patrick A. Corvington, Chief Executive Officer of CNCS. “Congratulations to these schools and their students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities. We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.”

A total of 851 institutions applied for the 2010 Honor Roll, a nine percent increase over last year, a sign of the growing interest by colleges and universities in highlighting their efforts to engage students in making a difference in the community.

On campuses across the country, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2009, 3.2 million college students dedicated more than 307 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.4 billion. Business and law students offer tax preparation and legal services, and college student volunteers provide meals, create parks, rebuild homes after disasters, conduct job training, run senior service programs, and much more.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a strong partner with the nation's colleges and universities in supporting community service and service-learning. Last year, CNCS provided more than $215 million in support to institutions of higher education, including grants to operate service programs and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for college tuition and student loan repayment. CNCS is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curricula. Through these programs, in classes, and in extracurricular activities, college students serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.

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. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service. For a full list of recipients and descriptions of their service, visit

Recipients of the Presidential Awards were honored in three categories:

  • General Community Service, which considers the scope and quality of an institution's community service, service-learning, and civic engagement programs;
  • Promise Neighborhoods Model, characterized by coordinated, wrap-around, youth-focused services that work together to support the educational and social needs of children; and
  • Summer Learning, which provides a safe, healthy environment for academic enrichment during summer breaks to help students retain what they learned during the academic year.

General Community Service Award Recipients

· Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota — Students completed more than 191,700 hours of volunteer service last year in projects focused on economic opportunity and promoting healthy futures. Some of the projects addressed low-income housing, community health outreach, and financial literacy; the students also helped establish a free clothing exchange and ran an employment education computer lab.

· Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida — Students contributed more than 55,700 volunteer hours last year in education, health, and disaster response projects. These included mentoring elementary-school students, teaching at an elementary school, rebuilding homes, creating hand-washing stations for farm workers, and providing health screenings in Nepal.

· San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California — San Francisco State serves one of the most ethnically and racially diverse student populations in the country. The university has increased the number of local minority students admitted by offering after-school, college-level classes to disadvantaged students of color in more than 15 high schools. Through community partnerships, SFSU students volunteer in community projects that provide health education, English language classes for immigrants, violence prevention programs, and educational programs for at-risk youth. 

Promise Neighborhood Award Recipients

· Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois — Loyola's Madonna Scholars High School Intervention program produced a 100 percent college acceptance rate for 80 female at-risk participants; 68 percent of them received scholarships upon graduating from high school. The Target New Transitions program provided 4,608 hours of mentoring to middle school students transitioning to high school. Loyola's Math Tutoring program engaged 253 fourth- to eighth-grade students and improved their confidence and academic performance.

· St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas — Students participating in the Neighborhood Revitalization project work through strategic partnerships to improve infrastructure and streetscapes, create urban pocket-parks, build affordable housing, and support a more sustainable business community. The students helped provide resources for the community that address home ownership, credit counseling, and neighborhood landscaping projects.

Summer Learning Award Recipients

· California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, California — Students contribute more than 84,000 hours of service annually to programs aimed at reducing the academic achievement gap. The Increase the Peace Summer Youth Leadership program provides literacy, math, and art classes in the summer for local at-risk middle school students, resulting in increased academic achievement and positive behavioral change.

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