Westfield residents honored for community service

WESTFIELD – For the second year, Westfield State University (WSU)recognized the exceptional community contributions and achievements of four Westfield area residents whose leadership reflect the rich legacy of Horace Mann, founder of Westfield State, and the community service traditions of Westfield State University.
An audience of more than 300 people packed Westfield State’s Scanlon Banquet Hall to honor and support the 2013 Horace Mann award winners: Civic leader, education advocate and former Trustee of both the WSU Board and Foundation Dawn Carignan Thomas; businessman, former trustee and current Westfield State Foundation board committee member John Davies; community volunteer and former executive director of the Westfield Business Improvement District Lisa McMahon; and educator, former director of the Westfield Housing Authority and Westfield State alum Daniel Smith.
Each recipient received an honorary doctorate of public service presented to them by President Evan Dobelle and Board Trustee member Joseph Carvalho.
Acknowledging the award, Lisa McMahon said, “To be honored for public service when it is a way of life is just awesome – it’s awesome.”
The program’s featured speakers included Dr. Ira Harkavy, the associate Vice President of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnership at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Charles Desmond, chair of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
Harkavy, a nationally respected expert in community-university partnerships based on his 20 years of innovative leadership at the Netter Center provided this perspective from Benjamin Franklin: “‘Higher education contributes to a healthy, democratic society.’ And, ‘When institutions give high priority to working with their communities, it increases chances for improving social problems.'”

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