The Washington Center Honors University of San Diego with Prestigious Civic Engagement Award

SAN DIEGO – September 12, 2016 – Five colleges and universities were chosen this year from a hundred nominations to share in the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards presented by The Washington Center. The University of San Diego is among those honored. Recipients were chosen based upon their leadership and innovation in civic engagement. The University of San Diego will be presented with the award during The Washington Center’s annual awards luncheon in Washington, D.C. at the National Press Club on September 26, 2016.

“The University of San Diego is pleased to be recognized by the Washington Center with the prestigious Civic Engagement Award," said USD President James T. Harris. “As a contemporary Catholic university, USD constantly strives to honor its commitment to collaborating with partners to find viable and sustainable solutions to local, national and global challenges.” 

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars established this award to celebrate institutions in higher education where the commitment to leadership extends into civic roles in the communities beyond their own campuses. The award aims to highlight, in particular, institutions that are forging transformational partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level. 

“It is very impressive to see the unique and innovative ways this year’s winners have worked with their partners to promote the greater good,” said Chris Norton, president of The Washington Center. “These are important models of civic leadership for their students to learn from and for all of us to emulate.”

The University of San Diego is a Roman Catholic institution with long-standing links between the classroom and community partnerships.  Over 80 percent of USD’s undergraduate students contribute more than 300,000 service hours each year to national and international organizations and projects. For more than 20 years, the Linda Vista Collaborative has welcomed University of San Diego faculty and students through the Youth Engagement Initiative into local schools to help close the opportunity gap for K-12 students. They also developed the Montgomery Intersession Academy to support at-risk students newly on a year-round calendar with programs traditionally found only in the summer.

A committee of leaders in the field of civic engagement selected the recipients of the award. Serving on this committee were:

Mary Marcy, President, Dominican University of California, Chair
Bobby Hackett, President, Bonner Foundation
Heather Smith, Board Member, Rock the Vote
Nancy Thomas, Director, Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, Tufts University

The other academic institutions receiving the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award include Buffalo State, SUNY, Marquette University, Purdue University, the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and the University of San Diego.

About The Washington Center

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit.  The largest program of its kind, The Washington Center has over 50,000 alumni who have become leaders in numerous professions and nations around the world. It was established in 1975.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Pamela Gray Payton
(619) 260-4681