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College named to service Honor Roll

Katie Kohler | Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Corporation for National and Community Service has named Saint Mary’s to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts, especially regarding disadvantaged youth.

“Our commitment to the education of the whole person, a commitment that has been with us since our founding, remains unwavering; but the focus on the development of each student is not individualistic,” College President Carol Ann Mooney said in a news release.

“We are always conscious that human beings live in community. As our Mission Statement implies, our commitment to education is not solely to or for the benefit of the individual student, but also for the benefit of the broader society.”

The Community Service Honor Roll is one of the the highest federal recognitions a college or university can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Saint Mary’s was one of 117 schools that received the “honor roll with distinction” award. Honorees were chosen based on several factors including innovativeness of projects, percentage of student participation and the academic service-learning courses offered at the school.

Four programs at Saint Mary’s were recognized, said Carrie Call, director of the office of civic and social engagement. These programs are under the umbrella of the College Academy of Tutoring (CAT) program where students mentor students from local primary schools and include the Read-to-a-Child program, Pen Pals program and teaching assistants.

“For the CAT program alone, we had over 160 students involved in 2007, which is 10 percent of the student body,” Call said. “This is very high for a single program. Our numbers are quite high actually, higher than many other institutions. While we would love to see the numbers grow, I still feel very happy and proud of where we are now.”

Chief Executive Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service David Eisner recognized Saint Mary’s commitment to service and the correlation with the College’s mission.

“College students like those at Saint Mary’s College are tackling the toughest problems in America, demonstrating their compassion, commitment and creativity in by serving as mentors, tutors, health workers and much more,” Eisner said in a news release. “They represent a renewed spirit of civic engagement fostered by outstanding leadership on caring campuses.”

The Community Service Honor Roll awarded six schools with “presidential awards,” four with “special achievement awards,” 117 as “honor roll with distinction” and 391 as “honor roll members.”

“There are three levels of recognition: the Honor Roll itself, the Honor Roll with Distinction, which we won, and then the Presidential Awards,” Call said. “I feel strongly that it [the award] reflects the ‘heart’ of the Saint Mary’s student body.”

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was launched in 2006. It is cosponsored by the USA Freedom Corps and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.

Call hopes the enthusiasm for service at Saint Mary’s will continue in coming years.

“It’s a nice recognition and I believe it shows we are living up to our Holy Cross tradition of educating the mind and heart.”