January 8, 2016  

Wabash Center honored with Purdue's community partner award

The Wabash Center has received Purdue's Dr. JoAnn L. Miller Exemplary Community Partner Award for 2015.

The award recognizes local nonprofits, schools or government units that provide opportunities for Purdue students to enhance their education through volunteer and service-learning activities. The award carries a $1,000 cash prize, and it will be presented Wednesday (Jan. 13) during halftime of the men's basketball game against Penn State at Mackey Arena.

A panel representing the leadership of Boiler Volunteer Network, Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), College of Liberal Arts Engagement and the Office of Community Relations selected the award's recipient.

The Wabash Center, a Lafayette-area nonprofit agency founded in 1953, says, "Our mission is to optimize the quality of life for people with disabilities or special needs."

The nomination of the Wabash Center came from Ronald Steuterman, managing director of IN-MaC, the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center, a partnership between the College of Engineering, Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Krannert School of Management. Steuterman listed 16 connections the Wabash Center has with Purdue. Among them are the employment of numerous Wabash Center individuals with disabilities at Purdue and established or new (as of January) collaborations with the Department of Educational Studies, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, EPICS, and two Krannert master's programs. He also cited volunteer efforts by Purdue groups and coordination of attendance at Purdue athletic events.

The Lafayette Crisis Center received the inaugural Exemplary Community Partner Award in 2012, followed by the Hanna Center and Food Finders Food Bank in the next two years.

In January 2015, the award was renamed in memory of JoAnn L. Miller, who was associate dean for engagement and head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and worked passionately to further engagement with the community by Purdue students, faculty and staff. Miller died Dec. 25, 2014. 

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