Colleges win President’s Honor Roll award


Aquinas College students are updating Clark Retirement Community residents on the newest technology advances, as part of a college outreach program. Courtesy Aquinas College

Seven West Michigan colleges have won the President's Honor Roll award for the meaningful outcomes of their community service work.

The President’s 2014 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, an annual award highlighting colleges and universities that address community problems and promote civic engagement, recognized the schools for their commitment to volunteering and service-learning.

The seven recipients include Aquinas College, Olivet College, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Grand Valley State University, Kellogg Community College and Davenport University.

Initially launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll acknowledges institutions achieving measurable outcomes in four different categories, including general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity and education.

Combining the community service efforts of colleges and universities throughout the country for 2013, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll included student engagement of 3.1 million individuals, a total of 118 million service hours, and a value of $2.5 billion.

All seven of the West Michigan academic institutions were recognized for their general community service during 2014, which is defined as improving the quality of life of off-campus community residents in a variety of areas, such as education, health, economic opportunity, environment, disaster preparedness, and/or veteran and military family support.

Juan Olivarez, president at Aquinas College, said commitment to community has been a value at Aquinas since its founding.

“We are proud of this recognition from the President of the United States, as it validates the amazing contribution our students, faculty and staff are making on a regular basis,” Olivarez said.

It is the second consecutive year Aquinas College has received the community service designation. The Grand Rapids-based college currently has more than 1,000 active partnerships with approximately 700 different community partners.

Other Michigan-based institutions included on the honor roll for general community service included Alma College, Northern Michigan University, Madonna University, Albion College, University of Michigan-Flint, Lawrence Technological University and Central Michigan University.

Colleges and universities are eligible to apply for four award levels including the Honor Roll, Honor Roll With Distinction, the Presidential Award Finalist and the Presidential Award. Both the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University were recognized with the Honor Roll With Distinction recognition.

Kalamazoo College was also recognized on the honor roll for education community service, while Adrian College was highlighted on the Honor Roll With Distinction for educational strategies and efforts. Grand Valley State University and Albion College were also featured on the Interfaith Honor Roll, which recognizes programs developed to promote relationships among community members of different faiths and backgrounds.

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