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Wayne State University Receives President's Honor Roll Award for Service

February 12, 2008

Honors College service learning initiative and Chair of Community Engagement bolster university’s urban impact



The Corporation for National and Community Service named Wayne State University to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth. Launched in 2006, this distinction is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.


“Throughout our history Wayne State has sought to be a good neighbor and an active partner with Detroit and its surrounding communities,” said Irvin D. Reid, Wayne State University’s ninth president. “As president I have tried to strengthen these relationships by diversifying and enriching the university’s contributions to this area’s social, cultural and economic life. I think we have much to learn from the city, and much to give back in return.”


In the last year, Wayne State has enhanced its ability to make a difference in Detroit. At its Jan. 30 meeting, the Board of Governors voted to approve upgrading the university’s existing Honors Program to a city-focused, service-oriented Honors College which will enroll its inaugural class in Fall 2008. The Honors College is home to CommunityEngagement@Wayne, a service-learning initiative that gives students an opportunity to receive academic credit for developing and executing purposeful service projects throughout the city.


At the same board meeting, the university announced the creation of the Eugene Applebaum Chair of Community Engagement, made possible by a $2.1 million gift from the alumnus and major benefactor of the university for whom the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is named. Reid will become the Eugene Applebaum chair upon his retirement this summer, allowing him to lead a variety of scholarly and public service activities targeting critical urban concerns from regional, national and global perspectives.


The Honors College, an outgrowth of the university’s longstanding Honors Program, will have an expanded curriculum that requires second-year students to participate in service-learning projects that are tied to their work in general education courses. Students will earn academic credit while making a difference in their community. CommunityEngagement@Wayne is made possible, in large part, through a $500,000 grant from the McGregor Fund.


“The Honors College curriculum exemplifies Wayne State’s commitment to the urban experience and to the enrichment of teaching, service and research,” said Jerry Herron, dean-designate of WSU’s newest college and director of the Honors Program since 2002. “I am privileged to work with Michigan’s finest young scholars at a university that values service as a vehicle for experiential learning.”


Community Service Honor Roll honorees were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovativeness 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.


“College students are tackling the toughest problems in America, demonstrating their compassion, commitment, and creativity in by serving as mentors, tutors, health workers, and even engineers,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “They represent a renewed spirit of civic engagement fostered by outstanding leadership on caring campuses.”


The Honor Roll is jointly sponsored by the Corporation, through its Learn and Serve America program, and the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.


In congratulating the winners, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said, “Americans rely on our higher education system to prepare students for citizenship and the workforce. We look to institutions like these to provide leadership in partnering with local schools to shape the civic, democratic and economic future of our country.”


Overall, the Community Service Honor Roll awarded six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, four schools were recognized as Special Achievement Award winners, 127 as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 391 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 528 schools were recognized. A full list is available at


“There is no question that the universities and colleges who have made an effort to participate and win the Honor Roll award are themselves being rewarded,” said American Council on Education President David Ward. “Earning this distinction is not easy. But now each of these schools will be able to wear this award like a badge of honor.”


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 .

Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 12 schools and colleges to more than 33,000 students in metropolitan Detroit.