February 16, 2017

Susquehanna University has received a $7.1 million gift to establish the Susquehanna Service Leaders Program, in which SU students will serve community organizations that support youth development in the Susquehanna Valley.

“The SU Service Leaders Program underscores Susquehanna’s commitment to recruit and support students with a strong community service ethic,” said L. Jay Lemons, president of Susquehanna University. “We’re so grateful for this extraordinary gift. We look forward to building a program that benefits youth in the central Susquehanna Valley through connections with our students.”

The donor is a longtime friend of the university that wishes to remain anonymous. The gift enables the university to support all aspects of the program, including the hiring of a program coordinator, and will fund scholarships for the first six cohorts of students. The incoming Class of 2021 will have 10 SU Service Leaders, and in four years, the program will be fully enrolled with 40 students, 10 in each class.

The program will collaborate with community partners that support youth development in a broad sense: those focused on education, health care, nutrition, employment, arts/culture, and others that contribute to the well-being of young people in the region.

SU Service Leaders will work eight to 10 hours a week with the community organization with which they are paired. Their roles will evolve over their four undergraduate years, often starting as regular volunteers and advancing in duties and responsibilities to become true advocates for their organization and the population it serves.

“The donor hopes that as a result of this program, more young people in our area will come to see college as a possibility or a consideration for themselves,” Lemons said. “The examples set by our SU Service Leaders in the context of working with community partners will be meaningful.”

SU Service Leaders will have the benefit of professional development and leadership training supported by the gift. Students in the program will work directly with the university’s Career Development Center.

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