Concordia St. Paul News

May 11, 2016

Dr. David Woodard and 2016 Graduate Ceci Lewis Honored for Contributions to Community

Concordia University professor Dr. David Woodard and 2016 graduate Ceci Lewis (Art Education) were recently recognized for their leadership in civil engagement at the Minnesota Campus Compact’s annual summit and awards ceremony. Presidents from each Minnesota Campus Compact member institution recognized one honoree in three award categories for their exceptional work supporting the campus and their communities.

Dr. Woodard received a Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award, which is given to a faculty or staff member that has significantly advanced their campus’ distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnerships, supporting others’ civic engagement, and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement. A total of 26 faculty/staff members from colleges around the state earned this award.

Chair of Concordia’s department of history, Dr. Woodard facilitates a mentorship program by sending his political science students to serve as mentors to 5th- and 6th-graders at Maxfield Elementary School in St. Paul. Students share about political and social activism in their own communities and encourage others to get involved. Students also do service-learning projects to understand they can make a difference.

Recent graduate Ceci Lewis was one of 26 students to receive the Presidents’ Student Leadership Award for her commitment to civic responsibility and leadership evidenced by initiative, innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing public issues, effective community building and integration of civic engagement into the college experience.

Lewis uses her passion for art to teach students literacy skills through CSP’s Hmong Culture and Language Program. Her creativity has led her to create projects such as doll-making, indigo dying, gardening, and silk painting to encourage learning through cultural art.

Additionally, CSP nominated community partner Little Africa (a project of African Economic Development Solutions) for the Presidents’ Community Partner Award. Little Africa is business and cultural district and a virtual network of African immigrant businesses and cultural organizations. Concordia University has actively partnered with Little Africa through research, student consultants, contracts for businesses, a book club and overall institutional support.

This award is for a community-based organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways and has engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with the college or university, thus enriching educational as well as community outcomes.

The Minnesota Campus Compact supports civic engagement and democratic renewal through its diverse network of colleges and universities.