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Dominican University Wins Carter Honor

RIVER FOREST, IL, November 13, 2006--Dominican University received national recognition and a $5,000 cash award at a gala dinner October 17th attended by former First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

The event, co-hosted by the Illinois Campus Compact and the Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration, honored Dominican and two other universities for their work supporting outside human service agencies. Created six years ago, the Carters' organization fosters and acknowledges service learning and community development activities among college students and faculty.

Dominican's program partners with the San Miguel Charter school in the Austin neighborhood. University officials expressed delight that the partnership with San Miguel, which was established three years ago, was named "second finalist" and had been recognized so quickly. By contrast, the Southern Illinois University/Women's Center partnership, which won the Carter Award, has been in existence since 1972. The Illinois State University/Illinois Weslyan University/Habitat for Humanity partnership, which won "first finalist" honors, has been around more than 10 years.

Jessica McKinnon, a spokeswoman for Dominican, noted that the partnership with San Miguel is only one of numerous ways that the university has committed to working with various groups and businesses.

The partnership between Dominican University and San Miguel Schools Chicago provides the San Miguel Schools with volunteer support to effectively educate the nearly 200 children enrolled at their schools, and to provide Dominican University students, faculty and staff, with opportunities to learn about diversity and civic responsibility. San Miguel provides Dominican’s School of Education with an ideal site for graduate student practicum and, in return, education faculty members provide testing and in-service workshops in reading and special education for San Miguel teachers. These teachers also benefit from tuition scholarships to matriculate at Dominican University. San Miguel students widen their horizons by taking field trips to the university, and collaborative projects around the themes of West side neighborhood history and “Undoing Racism” have brought the Dominican and San Miguel communities closer together in a spirit of bridge-building that bodes well for the future.

Photo: Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter (left) with MaDonna Thelen, Dominican University’s director of service learning, and Hugh McElwain, professor of theology.

Photo courtesy of Dominican University

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