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Ed DeRoche Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Edward DeRoche, director of the University of San Diego Character Development Center, has received the Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education. The award, given out by Character.org, is the organization’s highest honor.

DeRoche, who has been active on campus since his arrival in 1979 as dean of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), has made it his mission to promote character in the classroom, with emphasis on an education that teaches trustworthiness, honesty, morality, and ethicality. For DeRoche, there is a need for character education to “permeate the school culture.”

“I think publicly, we are looked at as doing something different, unique, and nurturing, a change in the way one might want to educate the young,” said DeRoche in a June 2015 interview. “The impact would be to get people to realize that there is a balance to educating young kids. You have to pay attention to their social and emotional skills as much as pay attention to their mathematics and science skills.”

This annual lifetime achievement award is named in honor of Sanford N. McDonnell, chairman emeritus of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation and the founding chairman and chairman emeritus of Character.org. It is the organization’s highest honor, awarded to one individual each year who has been recognized as an outstanding role model of good character, has been a widely influential advocate of quality character education, has made contributions that have a broad impact, and has been a supporter of character education through mentoring or philanthropic support.

“Ed has been such a positive voice for character education. He has influenced so many educators through his teaching, mentoring and writing,” said Dr. Charles Haynes, the board chairman for Character.org. “He is a wonderful choice to represent the ideals of Sanford N. McDonnell, for whom this national lifetime achievement award is named.”

DeRoche, who has been involved in the education profession for more than 30 years, has held numerous positions, including being an elementary and high school teacher, a principal, and serving on a number of school boards. In the late 90s, he established the Character Development Center with former SOLES professor Mary Williams, which coincided with a national movement for character education.

Hosting the 19th annual Character Matters Conference in June 2015, DeRoche is seeing the work of the center’s staff and its volunteers making a difference in the lives of administrators, teachers, and students.

DeRoche is being honored with a lifetime achievement award for the work he has been doing and is continuing to see his goal of character education reach throughout the country.

Becky Sipos, president and CEO of Character.org, praised DeRoche’s support for educators: “The competition is very tough for this national award,” she said. “Ed has done outstanding work, not only in higher education, but also, he has not forgotten the classroom teacher, serving as the volunteer California state coordinator for Character.org’s Schools of Character program. He has truly made a difference at the local, state and national levels.”