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Widener University Recognized as Pennsylvania University with Most Altruistic, Civically Minded Students

Widener University has been selected as the university in Pennsylvania with the most altruistic, civically minded students. The designation on the "Pillars of Academia" map puts Widener among the top schools in the nation., a Silicon Valley-based organization dedicated to affecting personal and social change, compiled the results based on Washington Monthly rankings that considered schools for social mobility, research and service. It also ranked all the colleges on the map, listing Widener University 16th overall.

pillarsStudents at Widener engage in experiential learning projects, where classroom knowledge is applied to real-world issues – often through service-learning courses. More than 75 percent of Widener students participate in service or volunteer activities. In addition, the university’s Oskin Leadership Institute provides students opportunities to develop as leaders of competency, character and courage through certificate programs and a new leadership minor.

Widener President Dr. Julie E. Wollman said everyone at Widener works together to transform students into leaders of strong character who are engaged citizens. “Many colleges project a civic engagement focus, so I am particularly proud to see Widener recognized as Pennsylvania’s leader, and as a national star for its altruistic students,” she said. 

“Our students are supported by our faculty and staff to use their academic studies and extracurricular activities to solve local and global problems, and to make a difference in the world,” Wollman added. “Their altruism exemplifies my vision for Widener.”

Senior Brandon DeChirico, president of the university’s Student Government Association, said he was proud of the recognition Widener received.

“While our primary purpose is not to receive recognition, it is exciting to know that people are noticing what Widener University’s students, faculty and staff are accomplishing,” said DeChirico, who is part of the Presidential Service Corps/Bonner Leader Program, through which Widener students complete hundreds of hours of volunteer service in Chester, Pa. each year. “Widener has always instilled the values of civic engagement and altruism in its students through academics, student life and much more.”

“I am very proud of Widener University and cannot wait to see where this recognition takes us,” he added.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,