JoAnn Miller Exemplary Community Partner Award

2023 Winner: Indiana Medical History Museum

This year’s recipient, the Indiana Medical History Museum, is located on the grounds of the former Central State Hospital. Through a service-learning collaboration with Purdue, the museum provided students a “living laboratory” in which to apply concepts learned in the classroom to a real-world situation, under faculty guidance. The students conducted air monitoring, surface wipe sampling, and x-ray fluorescence to identify hazardous conditions in the museum. The Purdue students also met with museum studies students from IUPUI to teach them about health and safety. As part of a graduate-level safety management course, Purdue students were given the opportunity to conduct a live safety training session at the museum.

The JoAnn Miller Exemplary Community Partner Award, presented annually, recognizes local nonprofits, schools, or government units that contribute to the educational growth of Purdue students by providing volunteer and service-learning opportunities. It includes a $1,000 cash prize. In 2015, the award was renamed in memory of JoAnn L. Miller, who was Associate Dean of Engagement and head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. She worked passionately to further engagement with the community by Purdue students, faculty, and staff.


Nominees must be a not-for-profit organization, a school, or a governmental unit either within Indiana or within 50 miles from a Purdue University campus (e.g., Purdue West Lafayette, Purdue Fort Wayne, Purdue Northwest). The nominee must have partnered with Purdue to provide volunteer and/or service-learning opportunities that demonstrate excellence in engaging students in meaningful service to the community.

Nomination Process

Community partners (as described above in the Eligibility section) and faculty, staff, and students across the Purdue system may nominate a community partner.

Nominations must include the following elements:

  • Community need(s) addressed by the agency’s programs and how the agency addresses the need(s)
  • How Purdue students have been involved in the agency’s programs and the benefits they have received from their experience
  • Contribution/value that student involvement brings to the agency and the population it serves
  • Why the agency is deserving of the award
  • Number and level of students engaged with the agency each year

The nomination form can be found HERE. Nominations are currently closed.

Selection Process

Nominations will be evaluated and awarded by an ad hoc committee of Office of Engagement staff based on the following criteria:

  1. “Meaningful service” is defined as service that is reciprocal. Students learn about challenges/issues in the community and are empowered to address them while the partner agency receives valuable services and resources.
  2. The partner agency acts as co-educator for the students.

Finalists will be selected and notified by March 6th. Each organization selected as a finalist will participate in a virtual conversation with one or two members of the selection committee during the week of March 20th. The winning organization will be selected and notified during the week of March 27th.


Awardees receive a $1,000 cash prize, a plaque, and are honored at the Office of Engagement’s Annual Awards Luncheon.


Any questions about the award processes may be directed to Dr. Lindsey Payne, Director of Service-Learning, at

2022 – Wolf Park

2020 – LTHC Homeless Services and YWCA of Greater Lafayette

2019 – Glen Acres Elementary School

2018 – Caregiver Companion

2017 – Lafayette Transitional Housing Center

2016 – Drug Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County

2015 – Wabash Center

2014 – Food Finders Food Bank

2013 – Hanna Community Center

2012 – Lafayette Crisis Center