NORTH BAY – Empire College has become the only private, for-profit college in California to be named "with distinction" to the 2012 "President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll," a national award recognizing colleges that inspire lifelong civic engagement among their students.
It was the first time that the Santa Rosa-based college had applied for the award. The career college was named to "Honor Roll with Distinction."
Dominican University of California in San Rafael was named to the list for a fifth year, part of the broader "Honor Roll."
Empire College Executive Vice President Sherie Hurd said she decided to apply for the award because “I was really proud. It was an opportunity to think about what we’re doing.”
In California, 18 schools were named to the list with distinction, and 29 were named to the broader honor roll. A total of 110 colleges nationally made the Honor Roll with Distinction, with 513 named to the honor roll.
[caption id="attachment_51558" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="A group of medical students from Empire College provided 1,000 flu shots as part of the Sonoma County Flu Task Force in December 2011 (Photo courtesy Empire College)"][/caption]
Colleges applying for the award were required to detail the roll that community service had in its academic programs. At Empire, President Roy Hurd explained that each academic program had a corresponding “service-based learning” component.
“The student benefits from the exposure,” he said. “They’re taught to network, but they also learn that, if you give back to the community, you get something in return.”
The college has sent students to benefit a number of North Bay organizations: for the county itself, medical students recently helped administer 1,000 flu shots. Law students offer support help to seniors and other needs in the community; information technology work is provided for the Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County, and accounting students provide income tax assistance.
That level of service has infused into the culture of Empire College as a whole, going beyond students, Mr. Hurd said.