White House officials on Tuesday named the University of La Verne a recipient of the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, designated as a top 5 institution in the category of interfaith and community service.
The ceremony, at George Washington University, drew presidents of higher education institutions, students, administrators and chaplains, among others.
University of La Verne representatives who attended were President Devorah Lieberman, Chaplain Zandra Wagoner, Provost Jonathan Reed, Professor of Religion and Philosophy Richard Rose, Office of Civic and Community Engagement Director Marisol Morales, and two La Verne students.
“This is a significant honor and point of pride for La Verne, not only for the recognition it brings, but for the level of excellence it represents,” said University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman.
Morales called the win a ‘touchdown’ for the University. “I was very happy because this was one of the major (awards) that we wanted, and we were able to receive it and highlight the work we’ve been doing,” she said.
Programs that set La Verne apart from other institutions include Freshman La Verne Experience’s (FLEX) Community Engagement Day, which introduces new students to the value of volunteerism. Students have also contributed thousands of hours of service to community groups that address issues such as hunger, homelessness and environmental conservation since The La Verne Experience program began in the fall of 2012.
The University’s various summer camp programs, introducing high school students to career paths and the college experience, were also highlighted as examples of La Verne’s commitment to service. La Verne’s REACH Business Camp, which invites high-school junior and seniors to learn how to develop a business plan while experiencing campus life, is one example.
La Verne shined in the area of interfaith cooperation, another component of the award. Among the University’s programs is the Summer Service Program, which pairs students with religious, secular and social service organizations. It emphasizes leadership development, personal, and spiritual growth. The University also holds interfaith celebrations for Hanukkah, Hindu Diwali and Pooja, Lent, Easter, Passover, Eid, and a candlelight vigil for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to educate the campus community.
University Chaplain Zandra Wagoner said the recognition reflects La Verne’s work to be a model interfaith campus.
“We want to be a place of welcome and hospitality to students and staff from any faith or non-faith perspective. We want our students to have basic religious literacy and the skills to navigate a complex world of pluralism, and to do so with a commitment to peaceful practices and empathy.”