Announcing the 2020 Impact Award Recipients

Six institutions and three community engagement professionals recognized for outstanding work pursuing the public purposes of higher education

Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education, announces the 2020 recipients of three Campus Compact Impact Awards: the Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award, the Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation, and the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation. These awards recognize the outstanding work of individuals and institutions in pursuit of the public purposes of higher education. “The individuals and institutions we celebrate through these awards demonstrate the extraordinary impact colleges and universities can make when they commit themselves to strengthening our communities and our democracy,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “In partnership with residents, local schools, and other community-based organizations, they are moving their communities in the direction of greater justice, greater equity, and greater participation.” The recipients of these awards, along with the 2019 recipients of Campus Compact’s two faculty awards, will be recognized at an Awards Celebration during Campus Compact’s Compact20 national conference, which will be held in Seattle, WA from March 29 to April 1, 2020.

Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award

The Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award celebrates the ethical leadership and advocacy demonstrated by Community Engagement Professionals. The 2020 recipients, listed below, have demonstrated collaboration with communities focused on transformative change, a commitment to justice-oriented work, and an impact on the larger movement to build ethical and effective community engagement locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Debra Gibes, faculty director of experiential learning at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, is recognized for her outstanding vision and passion as a community college engagement leader. In her work, she has focused on making equity-focused service-learning a key part of the educational experience for students and faculty. She has fostered reciprocal partnerships with local organizations that led to projects engaging marginalized students, such as developmentally-challenged students, economically-challenged students, minority students, and immigrant or international students. Within the institution, her work has been instrumental in facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration that crosses social and cultural differences. This has led to greater diversity in participation among faculty, staff, and students, creating broader impact for students and the wider community.

Chris Nayve, associate vice president for community engagement and anchor initiatives at the University of San Diego, is recognized for his long-term commitment to advancing higher education community engagement locally, nationally, and internationally. As the leader of the University of San Diego’s Anchor Institution mission, Chris has helped position the university as a Binational Anchor Institution. He has worked diligently to educate campus leaders to align procurement, hiring, and admissions practices, and other economic impact initiatives in ways that benefit local communities. More broadly, Chris has become widely recognized in the field of community engagement for his ability to forge new and long-term campus-community partnerships in the areas of housing, poverty, economic development, education, social justice, micro-finance, and diversity and inclusion.

Cynthia Orellana, director of the office of community partnerships at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is recognized for her excellence as an emerging community engagement professional who has championed community voices by creating community advisory groups and professional learning opportunities for community practitioners. She has worked on large scale initiatives with the Mayor’s Office and Boston Public Schools to support each institution’s strategic planning process and goals. Cynthia’s recent work includes efforts to transform the annual faculty review process at UMass Boston by supporting grassroots strategies to change how community-engaged teaching, research, and service are acknowledged and valued at the university.

Richard Guarasci and Eduardo J. Padrón Awards for Institutional Transformation

The Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation and the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation recognize 4-year institutions and community colleges, respectively, that have successfully implemented institution-wide efforts to address issues of public concern by aligning teaching, research, practice, and values in service of the common good. The 2020 recipients, listed below, have undertaken comprehensive efforts to advance the values articulated in our 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors.

Augsburg University is recognized for its commitment to serving as an Anchor Institution in the Twin Cities, mobilizing institutional resources to benefit local neighborhoods and helping to drive inclusive economic growth in the region. Through mutual, grassroots partnerships, including with the neighboring Cedar-Riverside community, Augsburg University has built trust as an active member of the community. Through their new strategic plan, Augsburg150, Augsburg University has further committed to economic sustainability, interfaith leadership, and equity and racial justice.

Bard College is recognized for its commitment to extending opportunities for liberal arts education to communities historically excluded from opportunity. A cornerstone of this work is the Bard Early Colleges High School program, which provides access to credit-bearing, tuition-free college courses in the liberal arts for high schoolers from Manhattan, Queens, Newark, Cleveland, and Baltimore. Students who participate in the program are taught by college faculty in undergraduate seminars and receive college credits up to an associate of arts degree. Other programs offered by Bard College, such as the Bard Prison Initiative, further demonstrate their commitment to access to education for marginalized groups.

Metropolitan State University of Denver is recognized for its comprehensive, institution-wide approach to planning for institutional change, which has included a Civic Action Plan, emerging assessment, connected efforts across departments, and clarity around institutional goals. As an urban land-grant institution, MSU Denver has committed to being an institution of the city, an integral, visible part of the communities within which it exists. MSU Denver demonstrates a clear and active commitment to strengthening its understanding of urban issues and to partnering with and serving its neighbor organizations in order to better meet the needs of the metropolitan area.

Raritan Valley Community College is recognized for its longstanding commitment to providing every Raritan student with civic and community-based learning experiences. Service-learning opportunities are deeply embedded in student life and in the curriculum, with service-learning courses offered in every academic department. Not only has this enhanced learning and provided professional development opportunities for students, but it has also been integral to addressing the major challenges facing communities in their region.

Seattle Central College is recognized for its high level of commitment to social and economic inclusion. This is evidenced by the establishment of an office of equity, diversity, and inclusion, the ongoing work toward a diversity action plan, and their commitment to access to education, providing flexible pathways for students from all situations and backgrounds to be prepared for careers and lives as active and engaged citizens. This result of this work has been the establishment of a wide variety of programs in partnership with local schools and community-based organizations, including the Seattle Promise Program and the Academy for Rising Educators. These programs have already demonstrated a measurable impact on Seattle Central College students and the local community.

Seattle University is recognized for its deep place-based commitment to the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus. A highlight of this work is the Seattle University Youth Initiative, a partnership with community-based organizations, local government, and K-12 schools to develop a “cradle to career” pathway of support for 1,000 children and their families in a two-square-mile neighborhood next to campus. The program has built trust between Seattle University faculty, staff, and students and community partners, helped increase academic achievement among local elementary school students, contributed to the overall health of the community, and provided excellent learning experiences for Seattle University students. For eligibility criteria, past recipients, and other details about the Campus Compact Impact Awards, see The Campus Compact national conference will take place from March 29-April 1, 2020 in Seattle, Washington; for more information on the conference, “The Promise of Full Participation: Democracy, Opportunity, Voice,” visit the Compact20 website at

For more information contact: Molly Leiper, Communications Manager, Campus Compact,

ABOUT CAMPUS COMPACT: Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, it provides professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. For more information, visit