RIT Announces Annual Public Service Award Winners

Professor Ann Howard and student Kaitlyn Werner to be honored at March 17 ceremony

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A. Sue Weisler

Kaity Werner and Ann Howard

M. Ann Howard, professor in the science, technology & society/public policy department in the College of Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology, is this year’s recipient of the RIT Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award. Third-year RIT business administration/marketing student Kaitlyn Werner will receive this year’s Bruce R. James ’64 Distinguished Service Award.

Howard joined RIT 16 years ago and according to her nomination form, has a long record of community service. She has served in an official capacity on no less than six community organizations, including NeighborWorks Rochester (former board chairperson and current chair of the governance committee), Greater Rochester Urban Bounty, Downtown Community Forum, Center for Dispute Settlement, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s environmental advisory committee and the Kodak Park Citizens Advisory Council.

“When it comes to community service, Ann exhibits a no-nonsense, grassroots, service-leadership philosophy,” says James Winebrake, chair of the science, technology & society/public policy department. “She is not the type of leader who just ‘talks the talk,’ she ‘walks the walk.’ What is really spectacular is how Ann has brought her commitment to community service into the classroom. Through her efforts, projects like the Greater Rochester Urban Bounty and the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance have positively affected hundreds of RIT faculty, staff and students. Ann teaches by example, and she is the epitome of what grassroots community service is all about.”

RIT vice president emeritus Davis started a $50,000 endowment to fund the award. Each recipient will have the privilege of designating the endowment income to a beneficiary of their choice, such as a not-for-profit organization in Rochester or a group on campus. Howard plans to divide the $2,500 award among the following groups: NeighborWorks Rochester, Greater Rochester Urban Bounty and the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center.

Kaitlyn Werner has been selected to receive the Bruce R. James ’64 Distinguished Public Service Award. Since fall 2007, she has been involved with RIT’s Habitat for Humanity club, having served as secretary and club fundraiser/event coordinator. She regularly works weekends on the local Rochester Habitat for Humanity house, and has taken charge in organizing RIT’s alternative spring break leading RIT students across the country to assist in the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes. She is also the student leader for an institute-wide project to build a “green” Habitat for Humanity house sponsored by RIT.

Werner is an active member of the RIT Honors Program and serves as a learning advisor, assisting her peers in the honors program to brainstorm ideas for completing their annual service-learning requirement. She is a co-leader of the Lowenthal Service Group, a volunteer-based community service organization.

According to Werner’s nominators: “Through her involvement in community service projects, Kaity has learned to appreciate what she has and understands that volunteering in the community adds great benefit to society. She believes in giving back to her campus and community and is willing to learn from every situation she faces. She is thoughtful, dedicated, creative, and most importantly, possesses a sincere desire to enhance the lives of those around her.”

Werner will divide her $1,000 award between Foodlink and Livingston County Habitat for Humanity.

Howard and Werner will be recognized at a ceremony at 4 p.m., March 17 in RIT’s Ingle Auditorium, Student Alumni Union.

The Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award Fund was created by Davis on the occasion of the 65th year of his association with RIT to commemorate the dedication of the last four RIT presidents in their service to the Rochester community. The award is presented annually to a member of the RIT faculty or staff whose public service and commitment mirrors that of the four presidents who worked with Davis. The Bruce R. James ’64 Distinguished Public Service Award is presented annually to an RIT student and commemorates the public service of Bruce James, chairman emeritus of the RIT Board of Trustees.