Nashville Mayor Karl Dean presented MTSU with an Honorable Mention for the Mayor's Award for Outstanding System-Wide Partner as part of the 31st annual PENCIL Foundation's BRAVO! Awards.
Of the 820 PENCIL Partner volunteer groups, the Mayor's Award for System-Wide partners was given to only two organizations — MTSU and the Charles Davis Foundation.
The PENCIL Foundation connects businesses and volunteers with students in Metro Nashville public schools and the yearly ceremony recognizes individuals and organizations that donate volunteer hours to the school system.
Doug Williams, executive director of marketing and communications for the university, attended the May 23 ceremony at Lipscomb University and accepted the award on behalf of MTSU.
The significance of this honor inevitably encompasses the hundreds of volunteer hours donated by MTSU students, faculty and staff during the 2012-2013 academic year.
MTSU's Marketing and Communications Department developed the “Nashville Initiative” — a yearlong effort to engage the Nashville community with the university. Through this initiative MTSU was the lead sponsor of the Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show, the Nashville Career Fair and a year-long partnership with W. H. Oliver Middle School to provide students with unique learning experiences and hands-on resources.
Organized events included lectures for students and teachers. Visiting MTSU professors presented research that was tailored for a younger audience and included topics such as Egyptian archeology, World War I and how to become an author.
Additional opportunities were provided to the school through a partnership between MTSU and The Tennessean. Members of The Tennessean staff facilitated workshops on ways that teachers could incorporate the newspaper into lesson plans. Students were also able to take field trips to tour the university and The Tennessean facilities.
These volunteer efforts inspired Adam Wicker, dean of instruction at Oliver Middle School, to nominate MTSU for the PENCIL Foundation's Award for Outstanding School Partner. Wicker said the effects of this year's events will reach beyond the 2012-2013 term.
“It is my belief that these experiences have helped light the spark for higher education in the hearts of our students,” he said. “MTSU and its faculty members truly are outstanding partners.”
Other organizations recognized at the BRAVO! Awards included: Adventure Science Center, C3 Consulting LLC, Nissan Motor Co. (Nashville Corporate), Asurion and Ray of Hope Community Church.
The PENCIL Foundation administers educational programs that involve the community as volunteers and mentors, offer academic enrichment opportunities, prepare students for graduation and provide school supplies to children.