Butler University President Bobby Fong will be honored with a national award for his efforts to cultivate a balanced environment on campus.
The award will be given out by NASPA, “the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy, and practice.”
This student affairs organization for higher education dedicates itself to not only challenging college students in the classroom, but also encourages students to cultivate personal values, including integrity, diversity, service and community.
The foundation has over 11,000 members located at 1,400 campuses and spans 29 countries.
Fong said that receiving a national award from NASPA is an incredible honor.
During his time at Butler, Fong has worked to establish an environment for students that values the importance of character, both in and out of the classroom.
“We want to educate for character and citizenship, not just job training,” Fong said.
To accomplish this, various resources such as the Office for Programs for Leadership and Service Education (PuLSE) have been established at Butler to provide students with optimal service opportunities.
“The goal is to make the lines between academics and community permeable,” Fong said.
While the PuLSE office provides voluntary opportunities for students to reach out to the community, the Center for Citizenship and Community coordinates the new core-curriculum requirement that requires students to branch out and engage in the Indianapolis community.
This core requirement ensures that all Butler students participate in some form of community service that further promotes the growth of students’ character beyond academics, and creates synergy between academics and service.
Fong said this focus on the growth of students’ character beyond intellect is a practice that has long been taken seriously by institutions of higher learning.
However, many universities have strayed from this in recent years because it is a more ambitious form of education.
To ensure the success of this collaboration between intellectual training and the development of character, more is expected of Butler faculty.
Fong said their obligations are more complicated because not only are they educators, they also serve as support and guides for life beyond the classroom.
Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson said these extracuricular programs are the reason for NASPA to recognize Fong.
“[Butler University] stresses study abroad programs, professional development, utilizes practices and provides developmental knowledge,” Johnson said.
Fong was nominated for the award by Clarence Crain, a Butler alumnus and former trustee. In the nomination, Crain touched on the impact of education in Fong’s own life and how that has motivated him to build an environment at Butler that fosters education and citizenship.
“Since becoming Butler University’s 20th president in June 2001, Dr. Fong has transformed the campus culture through his personal example and public leadership,” Crain wrote in the nomination.
“He has fostered university-wide recommitment to values upon which Butler was founded 152 years ago—namely inclusion, diversity, the championing of educational access and active service to the greater community.”