Centre’s Patrick Noltemeyer receives distinguished
June 17, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
community service and the Bonner program, recently received
the Bonner Administrator Award.
In May, Noltemeyer and the Centre Bonner Scholars performed
community service in West Virginia, helping families repair their
“On a campus where there are many people who care about and are engaged in important volunteer service and civic engagement, Patrick [Noltemeyer] stands above the rest.”
So says Centre College president John Roush in his letter nominating Noltemeyer, associate dean of student life and director of community service and Bonner Program, for a 2010 Bonner Administrator Award—an award he recently received.
Noltemeyer, who graduated from Centre in 2001, has long had a passion for serving others. Roush notes that his “commitment to the public good began before he arrived at Centre College as an undergraduate. While here as a student, and now as a member of the professional staff, Patrick’s leadership on our campus, in our community, and in this region of the United States has been extraordinary.”
After two years of serving as Centre’s Greek advisor, Noltemeyer accepted his current position in 2005. Since then, he says, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of young people in the Bonner Program. I find joy and renewal in my work with students, and I learn as much from them as they do from me.”
Supported by the College and the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, the Bonner Program at Centre offers up to 10 scholarships each year to students who demonstrate both financial need and outstanding commitment to community service. The mission of the Bonner Foundation is to transform the lives of students, campuses, local communities and the world through service and leadership.
During the school year, Centre’s Bonner Scholars (simply called “Bonners”) perform at least 10 hours of service each week in the local community and partner with community leaders to conduct needs assessments and develop programs to address those needs.
“This year,” Noltemeyer says, “we’ve improved our approach to community service, seeking first to listen to the voice of our community and then working in partnership with individuals and agencies to empower our community to address those needs.”
Not all Bonner projects take place near Danville, however. One of Noltemeyer’s favorite projects each year is the annual Bonner service trip to McDowell County in West Virginia.
“Each year, we leave the Monday following Commencement and return to a community with which we have established a strong bond,” he says. “Working together with the community agency, Big Creek People in Action, we help families and individuals fix up their homes in one of the poorest regions in America. I’m always impressed with the work ethic demonstrated by the Bonners and the joy they find in helping others.”
Another program in which the Bonners take joy is the local “Soup’s on Us” program, which provides meals to individuals in the community. The Bonners who participate in the project are led by Elizabeth Wisman, Bonner coordinator.
“The commitment of students to this program—which begins before 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings—is impressive and a testament to the determination of Bonners to address basic needs in our area,” Noltemeyer says.
Knowing well how working with “Soup’s on Us” and other programs can transform the lives of not only the community but also the students who participate, Noltemeyer says he wishes more people “could hear and be moved to action by the stories of need and change in our community—stories I hear each week by working with the Bonners. As busy undergraduates, students in the Bonner Program find time to build strong partner relationships and to use their strengths to empower others to create positive change. I’d encourage everyone to take time to talk to our Bonners about the needs that exist in our community and how we can work together to address them.”
With this hope in mind, Noltemeyer is preparing for another successful year of community service. And his remarkable efforts have not gone unnoticed, as Roush explains in his nomination letter.
“Though he is always quick to divert attention and praise to others, [Noltemeyer’s] record for accomplishment is obvious,” Roush says. “He is, in fact, a leader among leaders.”