College Named to President Obama's Community Service Honor Roll

May 19, 2011

SUNY Cobleskill has been named to President Barack Obama’s 2010 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. It is the second straight year the College is recognized for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.


The Honor Roll, administered since 2006 by The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), includes 511 college and universities; 114 institutions received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 11 were identified as finalists, and six received the Presidential Award.


“SUNY Cobleskill is privileged to again be recognized by President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” says Donald P. Zingale, president of SUNY Cobleskill. “The College’s growing involvement in regional and professional communities has resulted in a redefining of collegiate life as much more than traditional classroom instruction. I commend our students, faculty and staff for their dedication to community service and civic engagement.”


Under the leadership of the Office of Student Development and Collegiate Life, community service commitments are embedded into SUNY Cobleskill’s curriculum and student government initiatives. The College’s Rural Sociology course includes a 20-hour community service requirement that challenges students to participate in service projects, and the Early Childhood program places interns in the local Head Start facility to assist in day-to-day operations.


The Student Government Association and Council for Student Activities organize fund drives for local food banks and an annual blood drive with more than 500 donors, and the College, in conjunction with Cobleskill Partnership, Inc., recently completed a student-designed community plaza on Main Street in the village of Cobleskill.


A commitment to service is also exists at the institution’s administrative level, as evidenced by participation in the Liberty Partnership and GEAR UP grant programs, which promote public school student retention and graduation in at-risk and low-income areas. Currently, these programs serve 16 public schools across three counties.


SUNY Cobleskill is also the recipient of a New York Department of Health grant aimed at increasing healthy eating and physical activity in Schoharie County. The Creating Healthy Places initiatives, led by SUNY Cobleskill’s Beard Wellness Center, are strategic endeavors designed to create healthy places to live, work and play in the towns and villages throughout the county.


SUNY Cobleskill centralized its community efforts under its Communiversity initiative in 2008, expanding work that had been conducted in the past. Striving to be a resource for the community on multiple platforms, the College has directed additional resources toward community involvement while attempting to link the campus whenever possible with Capital Region communities.


“Recognition by President Obama’s Community Service Honor roll confirms that SUNY Cobleskill students, faculty and staff benefit greatly from the College’s strategic commitment to service learning and community partnerships,” says Steven M. Ackerknecht, vice president for student development and collegiate life at SUNY Cobleskill. “I commend Brian Kaiser, our coordinator of Communiversity Affairs, and the entire Student Development and Collegiate Life staff for a job well done.”


A total of 851 institutions applied for the 2010 Honor Roll, a nine percent increase over last year, a sign of the growing interest by colleges and universities in highlighting efforts to engage students in making a difference in the community. CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the United States Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus/community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.


“Congratulations to SUNY Cobleskill and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” says Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of CNCS. “We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.“


For a full list of Honor Roll recipients, visit


About The Corporation for National and Community Service


The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCrops, and Learn and Serve American programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit