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Stetson honored for public service


Stetson University is one of 14 universities named a Presidential Award Finalist in the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Stetson’s selection to the Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

“Stetson has a long history of service learning and educating students to be significant, as both leaders and participants in an ever changing world,” said Wendy B. Libby, president, Stetson University. “We’re honored to receive this prestigious award, and owe much of it to the students themselves. They are the energy driving our commitment.”

There were 810 applications submitted for the awards, and 690 were chosen to be recognized. Of the 690 schools recognized in this year’s Honor Roll, there are 571 Honor Roll designees; 100 Honor Roll with Distinction; 14 Presidential Award Finalists and 5 Presidential Award winners.

“Our mission at Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement is to promote lifelong commitments to social responsibility that embrace volunteerism and encourage service learning,” said Kevin Winchell, assistant director of community engagement. “This award shows that our students, faculty and staff have the ability to directly engage in activities that foster all of our values and improve the campus, community, and world.”

Some of the projects that Stetson students, faculty and staff participated in which were considered for the award include:

  • Stetson University’s Bonner Scholars and Leaders Program: provides 60 students with scholarships in exchange for their commitment to at least eight hours of community-based work each week. This resulted in more than 20,000 hours of work for more than 30 different community partners last year.
  • Stetson College of Law: requires all of its students to complete at least 60 hours of legal and non-legal pro-bono work prior to graduation. This resulted in more than 19,000 hours of highly skilled assistance to legal aid societies, local nonprofits and government agencies last year.
  • Stetson University and the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties: engages students in many ways, including as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) facilitators at no cost to local families, as fundraisers, as budget allocation committee members, and as volunteers for many other United Way intitiatives. This resulted in $182,092 in tax refunds for local families and more than 6000 hours of volunteer assistance last year.

“Congratulations to Stetson University, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency which administers the program.  “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”

More information about Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement can be found here. More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees, can be found at nationalservice.gov.