Mercer Earns Highest Federal Designation for Community Service

February 9, 2009

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON/ATLANTA/SAVANNAH – Mercer University has earned the highest federal recognition for community engagement, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced today.  For the University’s exemplary service efforts and service to the community, the Corporation named Mercer to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2008.  

“This award confirms Mercer’s deep commitment to community engagement. It was difficult to select only a few projects for our President’s Honor Roll application because Mercer faculty and students are so involved in community outreach,” said Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, Mercer’s senior vice provost for service-learning. “From individual students working on a Habitat for Humanity house to Mercer’s international outreach through Mercer On Mission, the university models what it means to be a good citizen.”

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Mercer was named to the Honor Roll in 2006 for its commitment to community engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Mercer’s commitment to community engagement is deeply embedded in all aspects and all campuses of the University, including service-learning, volunteering and University-community partnerships, such as the College Hill Corridor, which began as a student-led effort and has led to the creation of a potential reinvention of the area between downtown Macon and the campus.

Mercer students across the University amassed more than 103,000 hours of community service in 2008 – an average of 14 hours per student – and more than 4,900 students engaged in some type of service work. Community engagement spans across the University’s campuses and colleges: from School of Medicine students’ work with victims of the Imperial Sugar Co. plant explosion outside Savannah; to the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing students’ and faculty’s work with medically fragile children at Camp Kudzu outside Atlanta; to the millions of dollars invested by the University to redevelop the areas around the Macon campus. The University’s efforts reach around the globe as well through Mercer On Mission, a summer service-learning program in which groups of students travel to the developing world to work on projects that reduce human suffering. 

In addition to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, Mercer has received a number of awards and recognitions recently for its commitment to community engagement. In October, PreLaw Magazine ranked Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law at No. 6 in the nation among Public Interest Law Schools. In December, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized Mercer for its Community Engagement Classification. Mercer is one of only 195 universities in the nation – and one just three in Georgia – to receive that designation.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute Mercer University for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.

Overall, the Corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members.  The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has approximately 7,700 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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