(William Atkins/GW Today)
September 12, 2015
By James Irwin
For 43 years, Honey Nashman promoted community development, human rights and social justice as a member of the George Washington University faculty. Now, the associate professor emerita of sociology and human services is continuing that work by making a leadership gift to the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service.
The gift from Dr. Nashman and her husband, Alvin E. Nashman, will support the center as it expands efforts to promote active citizenship and enhance teaching, learning and scholarship through civic engagement. It was announced Saturday by George Washington President Steven Knapp at GW’s annual Freshman Day of Service and Convocation.
In recognition of the gift—the amount of which was not disclosed—the center will be renamed the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service.
“I decided to make this gift because of the respect I have for [Executive Director] Amy Cohen and her wonderful staff, my belief in the mission of the center and wanting to invite the entire university to make a difference,” Dr. Nashman said. “I hope this will expand current programs, help us work more closely with the community and neighbors and make a difference in working toward community development, human rights, social justice and true inclusion.”
Dr. Nashman, who spent 50 years building academic programs in higher education, was director of the Human Services and Social Justice program at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences prior to her retirement in 2010. She co-founded the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service (then the Office for Community Service) in 1993 and was an early advocate and architect of service-learning programs at the university, tapping into the extensive network of nonprofits in Washington, D.C.
“We’re in what I call ‘non-profit nirvana’ because we have more than 6,000 non-profit organizations, representing local, national and international areas of concern,” she said. “All of our core courses in human services had a requirement of service learning. It’s really amazing to be in the nation’s capital and have all these opportunities.”
The support of the university community, she said, has enabled the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service to thrive in the 22 years since its founding. Last year, GW recorded 655,192 hours of community service. Today, the university offers more than 70 academic service-learning courses. Citizenship and leadership, long hallmarks of the institution, make up one of the four themes of GW’s Vision 2021 strategic plan.
Service, Ms. Cohen said, has become fundamental to GW’s identity.
“Service helps you to figure out who you are, and who you are in relation to other people in the world,” she said. “It connects you with others who are not like you. It gives you the opportunity to exercise your skills in a way that serves others in the community. At GW, service is really important because it knits us together at GW, with the District of Columbia, and with the world.”