Distinguished Civic Leadership Awards

Distinguished Civic Leadership Awards

Civic and Community Engagement at Millersville University is hosting our annual awards. We are soliciting nominations for awards to be made at the community partners recognition breakfast on Thursday, April 5, 2018.

The purpose of these awards is to publicly recognize notable leaders, and civic/community contributions on the part of individuals and entities that have had a positive impact locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. All Nominations are due by March 2, 2018. 

Award Recipients will be selected based on the following criteria: 

  1. Nominee has made a significant contribution(s) to the campus, local, regional, national or international community.
  2. Nominee's leadership or actions have benefited others or the community.
  3. Nominee's leadership inspires or empowers other to become civically involved or engaged. 



2015 Distinguished Civic Leadership Award Winners

Student Leadership Award: Shana Drenning and Christine Persun

  • This award is given to the student leaders who have demonstrated aptitude in civic and community engagement and leadership. 

Millersville University Faculty/Staff Award: Mr. Jeff Ritcher, Assistant Football Coach

  • This award is given to a Millersville University faculty or staff member who has made significant contributions to the local, regional, national, or international community, and has both benefited others and inspired them to become civically engaged.

Millersville University Regional Partner Award: Mr. Robert Cooper, Ambassadors for Hope

  • This award is given to an organization associated with Millersville University that has made significant contributions to the local, regional, national, or international community, and has both benefited others and inspired them to become civically involved. 

Millersville University Regional Partner or Nonprofit Award: Mr. Andy McCormick, Cocoa Sustainability at Hershey Company and End Buruli Ulcer Alliance

  • This award is given to an engaged community partner associated with Millersville University that has made significant contributions to the local, regional, national, or international community, and has benefited others and inspired them to become civically involved.

2014 Distinguished Civic Leadership Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Francine G. McNairy

  • 13th President of Millersville University of Pennsylvania
  • Championed faculty, student and staff diversity, global education, economic development within the Lancaster region. 

Regional Non-Profit Organisation: S.W.A.N. Scaling Walls A Note at A Time 

  • Provides Music lessons, ensemble training, performance opportunities, and mentoring to children whose parents are incarcerated.
  • Engages Millersville Students as music instructors, research, and public relations.

MU Student: Ms. Jan Bechtel

  • Social Work Masters Degree student
  • Member and active participant on the President's Commission on Cultural Diversity and the Women's Commission on the Status of Women, and much more in the Lancaster Community as an advocate for LGBT youth and young adults. 

MU Faculty: Dr. Jeri L. Robinson-Lawrence

  • Faculty member in the MU Art Department
  • Founder of the Red Rose 4-H Riber Artist Club. Bestows leadership skills and confidence to youth in the area by teaching knitting, spinning, weaving and crochet. 

Alumnus: Ms. Addie Ritenour

  • An alumnus of MU with a Masters of Special Education
  • Head coach and participant for the Girls on the Run race in Lancaster and Co-Organizer of Los Amigos, a club to build stronger relationships between students with and without disabilities. 

Alumnus/Non-Profit Organization: Steve O'Neill and VITA

  • O'Neill coordinates the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which provides free tax preparation service to low and moderate-income individuals and families. 
  • Grew the program to 14 sites with over 200 volunteers. 

MU Organization: Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority

  • ASA provides many volunteer hours through direct service to their national philanthropy and the Lancaster Excentia and S. June Smith Center. 
  • Serve as an example to other MU organizations through recruiting them to participate in their fundraising events. In 2014 they involved various MU dance groups in a fundraiser for Excentia with a "Be the Change Dance Benefit Performance" 

2013 Distinguished Civic Leadership Award Winners

MU Student: Ms. Hannah Weicheld

  • Volunteer work with Historic Yellow Springs and Camphill Village Kimberton Hills 

Non-Profit Organization: Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network

  • SSBN educates and engages the community to increase support for local, sustainable businesses and provides civic leadership on economic equity to help create and maintain a sustainable economy

Non-Profit Organization: Homefields Farms

  • Supports over 160 adults with intellectual disabilities
  • Provides fresh, organic, sustainable produce to the community

Local/Regional Figure: Mr. Bob Shoemaker

  • President of the Lancaster Alliance which serves as a focused intermediary and catalyst to improvement through direct programs and collaboration with economic development peers

Local/Regional Figure: Mr. Tom Strickler

  • President of the Columbia Borough School District Board and executive director of Community Life Network of Columbia

Local/Regional Figure: Dr. Cathy Hoshauer

  • Joined Roseville Pediatrics in 1987 and provides medical care to the child victims of Lancaster County at Lancaster General Hospital
  • Opened the Lancaster County Children's Alliance, an advocacy center, in 2006

MU Faculty/Staff: Dr. Kerrie Farkas

  • Associate Professor of English at MU with specializations in civic discourse and service learning
  • Co-chairs the English Department's Writing Studies Committee

Alumnus: Lt. Todd Umstead

  • Currently assigned as the Administrative Division Lieutenant and also serves as Public Information Officer; has been with the Lancaster City Police Department for 21 years

Alumnus: Mr. Justin Rule

  • Currently serves as the Education Director at Prospect Grove High School
  • Founder and Executive Director of Heads Up Lancaster ; a non-profit network dedicated to unleashing potential in youth through urban arts

For award winners previous to 2013, click here

Past Distinguished Civic Leadership Award Events

The 2014 Keynote: Nell Bernstein 
Invisible Children: When a Parent goes to Prison


Nell Bernstein is a powerful leader and spokesperson on incarceration and its impact on youth and families. Her groundbreaking book, "All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated", won the PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society Award) from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. It also received acclamation as pick of the week by "Newsweek Magazine", best book of the year by the "San Francisco Chronicle", top ten book of the year by the "Online Review of Books", and has been adopted into the curricula of numerous universities.

Bernstein has received fellowships from the Open Society Institute in New York and the University of Maryland School of Journalism, and was named a Champion of Change by the White House for her work on behalf of children of incarcerated parents. Bernstein speaks at forums, hearings and conferences across the country. Her second book, "Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison", will be published this Spring

The 2013 Keynote: Andrew Slack. 

Andrew Slack

Andrew Slack is co-founder and executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA). Under his leadership, the HPA has sent five cargo planes to Haiti, built libraries across the world, advocated for human rights, media reform, and equality on LGBTQ, education, and immigration. 

USC's Annenberg School of Communications has called Andrew's approach and theory of social change one of the "premier models of civic engagement for the twenty-first century." Andrew has been featured multiple times on NPR and the New York Times, written for the LA Times and CNN.com, given a talk at TEDx Rome and served as a keynote speaker at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.