WASHINGTON – Northern Arizona University is one of five colleges and universities chosen this year from 100 nominations to share in the 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards presented by The Washington Center. Recipients were chosen based upon their leadership and innovation in civic engagement.

NAU President Rita Cheng accepted the award during The Washington Center’s annual awards luncheon Monday, Oct. 2, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“We are honored to be recognized by The Washington Center for the work we do with our community partner, Northern Arizona Healthcare, to improve health and increase access to health care for people of diverse backgrounds who live in remote areas of northern Arizona,” Cheng said. “This project is just one example of NAU’s commitment to improving lives through excellence in civic engagement.”

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 campuses. The award aims to highlight institutions that are forging transformational partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

“Today it is more urgent than ever that colleges and universities step up as forces for the greater good of society at large,” said Chris Norton, president of The Washington Center. “The winners of this year’s awards, together with their community partners, have set important examples for their students and all of us to follow.”

As one of three state universities, NAU plays a unique role as an anchor institution serving the diverse population of northern Arizona. In an initiative known as THRIVE, the university is partnering with Northern Arizona Healthcare to reduce health disparities, particularly among northern Arizona’s Native American, Hispanic and rural populations. With more than 20 projects underway, THRIVE integrates the resources and reach of both organizations to improve the clinical, behavioral and population health management practices that influence the health outcomes across the region. This partnership, in turn, supports the strategic goal of a sustainable biomedical industry in Arizona.

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
  • Nancy Thomas, director, Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, Tufts University

The other academic institutions receiving the 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award include Guilford College, Keene State College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh.

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 more than 50,000 alumni who have become leaders in numerous professions and nations around the world. It was established in 1975.