Connecticut Campus Compact brings together higher education leaders


Image: Campus CompactThe representatives of 23 Connecticut public and private colleges and universities - including fourteen presidents - recently joined Secretary of State Denise Merrill at The Hartford Club in support of the growing Connecticut Campus Compact (CTCC), a statewide program based on the Fairfield University campus.

Dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement and service learning, Connecticut Campus Compact organized the event to foster and celebrate the value the higher education community can have on their local communities. It featured 82% of its total membership, including numerous community agencies, prompting keynote speaker Secretary Merrill to comment that this was the first time in her 30 years of service that she had seen such a large and influential group of higher education professionals together under one roof.

In her speech, Secretary Merrill spoke of the value of one's contributions to society that is truly the measure of the individual, rather than financial wealth. The Secretary challenged the audience to measure worth by, "how many lives you impact or improve the world we live in."

Among the leaders in attendance was Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., who has been chair of CTCC since 2008. Over the last several years, the number of presidents and institutions that have joined this coalition has doubled so that the vast majority of colleges and universities in Connecticut are members. With evidence suggesting that communities perform better economically when they have stronger civil societies, presidents hope to collaborate on how ambitious collective civic work would greatly benefit both society and the economy.

"We made a little bit of history, by the numbers, bringing together presidents, provosts, higher education executives, deans, faculty, staff from public and private, research and Ivy League institutions," said Dr. Saul Petersen, CTCC Executive Director.

The event was also a celebration of scholarship and service of the highest level, with the winners of several awards demonstrating the strongest principles of social responsibility, impact, and ethical citizenship.

The Faculty Engaged Scholarship Award went to Dr. Frances L. O'Neil who has been teaching at Tunxis Community College for over 25 years in the Social Science Department and has helped Native peoples in her projects.

The Campus-Community Partnership Award went to Project Horizon at the University of Hartford, which provides nursing care, health teaching, wellness promotion, support, advocacy, and referral advice to improve the health and quality of life.

The Presidents' Choice Award was given to Professor Greg S. Horne, who teaches at Middlesex Community College, where he has established internship and other community partnerships with over 150 agencies.

In an effort to build on the momentum and engagement in Campus Compact, the organization will convene all of Connecticut's higher education presidents and members of their respective leadership cabinets at Yale University this September. The event - Campus Compact's inaugural "Presidents' Leadership Summit, Connecting for Good" - will include an evidence-based analysis of institutional investment in civic engagement and education for citizenship.

Connecticut Campus Compact is part of a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents who are committed to fostering a sense of social connectedness and graduating responsible citizens.

Image: [L-R] Dr. Elsa M. Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University; Dr. Saul Petersen, CTCC Executive Director; Secretary of State Denise Merrill; Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., chair of CTCC.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 26, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 306