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Hampshire Honored with Civic Engagement Award

Hampshire cited as "a shining example" of a college incorporating initiatives that teach self-awareness, community engagement, and lifelong leadership skills.

Hampshire College is one of five colleges and universities chosen from more than a hundred nominations to share in the 2014 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards presented by the Washington Center and the New York Life Foundation.

Beth Hooker and Byron McCrae

Recipients were chosen based on their leadership and innovation in civic engagement. Hampshire will be presented with the award during the Washington Center’s annual awards luncheon in Washington, D.C. at the National Press Club on September 29.

“Community engagement is an important part of the Hampshire College education, assisting tomorrow’s leaders in developing the skills necessary to put their ideas into action. To be recognized for these efforts is particularly meaningful,” said Hampshire President Jonathan Lash.

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, established this award to celebrate institutions in the higher education community that are reaching beyond their own campuses to achieve sustainable civic impacts.  The annual award aims to highlight, in particular, innovation and leadership in forging partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

At Hampshire College, commitment to civic and community engagement and social responsibility is a founding principle. Every student is challenged through a 40-hour minimum community engagement and learning requirement to seek innovative ways to address critical needs as defined by communities on and off campus. Hampshire’s Sustainability Initiative connects learning and engagement to efforts to serve healthy, locally produced food on campus. Hampshire’s Farm Center is a growing collaborative hub for members of the agricultural community and the Five College consortium in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts to explore sustainable systems for local food sourcing. 

“Hampshire College is a shining example of how colleges are taking the traditional curriculum model and incorporating initiatives that teach self-awareness, community engagement and lifelong leadership skills,” said Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center. “Hampshire is a true leader within the academic community and we congratulate them on this honor.”

A committee of leaders in the field of civic engagement selected the recipients of the award.  Serving on this committee were: Geraldine Mannion, Carnegie Corporation of New York (chair); Michelle Cooper, Institute for Higher Education Policy; Bobby Hackett, Bonner Foundation; Peter Levine, CIRCLE, Tufts University; and Heather Smith, Rock the Vote.

Dean of Students Byron McCrae will accept the award on Hampshire College’s behalf.

The other academic institutions receiving the 2014 Civic Engagement Award are California State University, Fullerton, Rice University, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Georgia College and State University.

Photo Credit: The Washington Center

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