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LU receives national volunteerism award

The Southeast Texas Food Bank presented Lamar University with several awards recognizing the university’s
Food Bank Awards

Phyllis Thibodeaux, Evie Clifton and Karen Nichols
accepts award on behalf of Lamar University.

staff, students and alumni for volunteer efforts.

During an award ceremony, Dan Maher, executive director of the Southeast Texas Food Bank, presented the Gold Award from the Office of the President of the United States and the Points of Light Foundation to Karen R. Nichols, director of the Lamar University Foundation. Maher also presented the Bronze Award to Phyllis Thibodeaux, a Lamar University Alumni Advisory Board member and Evie Clifton, coordinator of Alumni Affairs.

“We are honored to receive these awards from the Food Bank of Southeast Texas on behalf of our alumni who volunteered at Food Banks across the State of Texas during our volunteer service day, and on behalf of our alumni around the world who engage in community service,” said Juan Zabala, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Lamar University Foundation. “We are proud neighbors of the Southeast Texas Food Bank whose service provides for the neediest in our communities.”

The awards are Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, which are national recognitions of extraordinary local volunteer service based on a high volume of service hours provided. The awards were founded in 2003 to honor individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action, too.

“Lamar's collective service through many on campus channels, as well as through affiliated alumni makes it an extraordinary contributor of volunteer service to the Southeast Texas Food Bank and merited it a gold medal for exceeding the threshold of hours required for collective service by an organization.,” said Maher. “Our reliance on Lamar University students, faculty, staff and organizations for volunteerism is substantial, and we could not achieve the widespread impact our services have on food insecurity in Southeast Texas without the cooperation of the hundreds of Lamar-related volunteers who support us annually.”

The Food Bank plans to make the awards an annual recognition in the future, and LU may be in the running every year based on the university’s commitment to volunteerism.  

“Lamar University students are encouraged to have a focus on community service as a part of their holistic education at LU,” said Zabala. “And our alumni are terrific representatives of this commitment; LU graduates are known for their service to their communities.”