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Widener on President’s Community Service Honor Roll for Sixth Consecutive Year

president honor roll 2012

Widener University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Widener was recognized "With Distinction," an honor bestowed on only 17 percent of institutions recognized in the Honor Roll. Widener has been named to the Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2006.

"To receive this honor six consecutive years is a tribute to the students, faculty and staff of Widener University and their dedication to our civic engagement mission," said Widener University President James T. Harris III. "It is also a testament to the willingness and enthusiasm of the community organizations we partner with in Chester, Delaware and Harrisburg. These initiatives are successful because we all work together as one."

This year, Widener was honored for three exemplary projects:

  • The Widener Partnership Charter School: The first university-based charter school in Pennsylvania, WPCS currently serves about 350 students in grades K-6. The school, which takes a holistic approach to education, serves the children and families of Chester and has met or exceeded state standards each year since it was opened in 2006.
  • The Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic: The physical therapy clinic is a student-led pro bono clinic serving uninsured and underinsured residents of Chester. Residents receive services from graduate physical therapy students under the supervision of licensed volunteer alumni physical therapists.
  • The Veterans Law Clinic: Operated by the Widener School of Law, the Veterans Law Clinic was among the first of its kind established in the nation. The clinic assists disabled veterans and dependents with Department of Veterans Affairs compensation claims and related benefits. It has helped more than 200 veterans and dependents in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania recover more than $2.5 million in benefits.

For the past two years, Newsweek has ranked Widener among the top service-minded colleges and universities in the nation. The university has also ranked among the top 100 institutions in the annual Washington Monthly rankings since the magazine's inaugural college issue in 2005. In addition, Widener was among the first universities in the nation to be categorized as a "community engagement" institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the Honor Roll, admitted a total of 642 colleges and universities. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.

In the five county Philadelphia region, a total of 15 colleges and universities were honored this year. The University of Pennsylvania received a Presidential Award for its special focus on summer learning, Widener and Bryn Mawr College were named to the Honor Roll "With Distinction," and Arcadia University, Gwynedd-Mercy College, Haverford College, La Salle University, Montgomery County Community College, Neumann University, St. Joseph's University, Swarthmore College, Temple University, Ursinus College, Villanova University and West Chester University made the Honor Roll. For a full list of recipients, visit

"Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community," said Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS. "We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities."

"Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap," said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for postsecondary education. "The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact – both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we'll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead."

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,700 students. Visit the university website,

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit



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