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University of the Cumberlands Named to Presidential Honor Roll


Mountain Outreach students complete a wheelchair ramp.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — The Corporation for National and Community Service honored University of the Cumberlands today with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

“University of the Cumberlands is truly honored to be selected as a presidential honor roll institution,” said Dr. Jim Taylor, the university’s president. “This is a singular award about which we are justifiably proud.”


Fall 2008 Insights students paint replacement siding on a home during a Mountain Outreach project.

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation 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.

University of the Cumberlands has developed a special service and leadership program that requires a first-semester freshman orientation class called Insights, as well as a class in leadership during the junior year. Each UC student must also complete 40, documented, community service hours in order graduate, and an optional, 160, additional service hours allow graduates to be named Hutton Scholars at Commencement.

Cumberlands is also home to Mountain Outreach a student-led service organization, which, in the last 25 years, has completed a total of 125 homes for area families and individuals, who for financial or health reasons have been unable to provide safe, comfortable, basic housing for themselves. The group also has built wheelchair ramps and provided badly needed home repairs and simple renovations for hundreds of local residents. During the past two years, some Insights instructors have integrated their classes into Mountain Outreach’s fall renovation projects. According to Dr. Christopher Leskiw, “I can think of no better way to expose students to UC’s mission than to have them participate in Mountain Outreach and actually model and carry out the mission of serving people in our area.”

Mountain Outreach also conducts two annual Gift Days, which help many families celebrate Christmas by providing gifts, household and personal necessities, clothing and food. In 2008, more than 100 UC student volunteers, along with other volunteer groups who came to help, participated in the two Gift Day programs.

Additional volunteer service opportunities are available for UC students through Baptist Campus Ministries and Appalachian Ministries.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute University of the Cumberlands for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Overall, the Corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day – as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

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

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study; 30 minors; nine pre-professional programs; graduate degrees, including a doctorate and certifications in education; an MBA; and online programs.