DANVILLE, KY—Wayne Meisel, president of the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, N.J., was on Centre College's campus Wednesday, April 23 to publicly announce a $3.55 million endowment to be awarded to the College to permanently establish its Bonner Scholar Program.
Under the terms of the endowment, Centre will be expected to raise $1.1 million in matching funds against the Bonner Foundation's endowment of $2.45 million for a total endowment of $3.55 million. The College must raise the $1.1 million by August 1, 2010.
"This endowment will do much to ensure that the Centre Bonner Program will continue for many years to come and that it will continue to provide the means to allow Centre students to have a positive effect on the surrounding community," says Patrick Noltemeyer, director of volunteer services and Bonner Program coordinator at Centre. "The support of the Bonner Foundation will provide new opportunities for civic engagement for all students, and has enabled the creation of the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement and Servant Leadership, which will open this fall."
The Bonner Center will be a place for all students to engage in dialogue on issues of social justice, community development and positive action. The Bonner Center will be a hub for campus and community members to come together to plan projects that will have a strong, beneficial impact on the Danville/Boyle County area.
Centre's Bonner program currently consists of 33 leaders and 15 scholars, chosen through a highly competitive process. Now in its ninth year on campus, the program works to advance the goals of the Bonner Foundation, a national organization that seeks to develop "thoughtful, caring and diverse" student leaders dedicated to community service.
Says Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations: "It is both our hope and the Foundation's that endowing the Bonner Scholars Program at Centre will serve to reinforce the culture of service and civic engagement that exists at the College."
The mission of the Bonner Program, as described by the national Bonner Foundation, is to transform the lives of students, campuses, local communities and the world through service and leadership. Students selected for the Bonner Program at Centre perform at least 10 hours of service each week in the local community. Students partner with community leaders to conduct needs assessments and then develop programs to address those needs.
A portion of the endowment will support scholarships for Centre students who are Bonner Scholars, and another portion will support the operations of the program (for example, Bonner Scholars are sent to various meetings during the year and to summer conferences and some of them are given money to support their summer activities).
At Wednesday's announcement, Meisel said that Centre was one of only 20 schools in the United States to be awarded this type of endowment by the Bonner Foundation.
"We've been inspired by the mission and the people of Centre College," he said. "And inspired by the promise of what is to come."
Bonner students meet regularly for discussion and reflection exercises. Each semester is dedicated to the pursuit of an understanding of Bonner's six common commitments: social justice, diversity, international perspective, civic engagement, spiritual exploration and community building.
Local partners for the Bonner Program include the Adult Education and Literacy Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, CASA, Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge, Centro Latino, Comprehensive Care Center, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, The Gathering Place for Senior Adults, The Hope Clinic, Jennie Rogers Elementary School, Junction City Elementary School, The Kentucky School for the Deaf, Kids In Creative Surroundings, The Salvation Army, The United Way, Woodlawn Children's Campus and Woodlawn Elementary.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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