Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 24, 2003

Community-Development Lecture Series at Whitworth to Feature
President of National Council for Community and Education Partnerships

In a concerted effort to address poverty in Spokane through a new method called "Asset-Based Community Development," Whitworth College, in collaboration with Bethel A.M.E. Church, is hosting a community-action lecture series at the college's northside campus. The lecture series, "Alleviating Poverty and Building Assets for the Development of World-Class Communities: Partnerships and Collaboration," features three nationally recognized community-development experts who will discuss accessing assets and developing partnerships in Spokane that can result in community change.

"Asset-based community development assumes that even the poorest neighborhood has underutilized resources," says Julia Stronks, professor of politics and history at Whitworth. "This lecture series will help us strategize about new ways to form partnerships that tap into these resources and develop leadership in the communities that are struggling the most."

The second lecture will feature Héctor Garza, founder and president of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships. Garza will present a lecture, "Community and Educational Partnerships: Advancing Opportunity to Become a World-Class Community," on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in Seeley Mudd Chapel at Whitworth College. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the principle that every child deserves an equal chance to obtain a high-quality college education. Garza directs the NCCEP to bring together colleges and universities with local schools, parent groups, government agencies, foundations, corporations and community-based organizations that collaborate to improve student achievement and expand educational opportunities for all students.

Prior to founding NCCEP, Garza served as vice president of the access and equity programs at the American Council on Education, in Washington, D.C., where he directed the office of minorities in higher education, and coordinated and supervised the office of women in higher education and the HEATH Resource Center, the national clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. Garza has also provided leadership and technical assistance to colleges and universities in the areas of student/faculty recruitment and retention, campus diversity, affirmative action in college admissions, minority affairs, and higher-education management.

In the past 10 years, Garza has served as a senior consultant to the Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on K-16 initiatives. He has provided training and technical assistance in the areas of educational reform, evaluation of college-access programs, partnership building, media relations, community engagement, race relations, and effective strategies for educating low-income and K-20 minority students. Garza has worked with such diverse programs as the Urban Partnership Project, the Rural Community College Initiative, and the Engaging Latino Communities for Education Initiative.

Because of his long-term service and achievements in academia, Garza has earned awards and accolades from the University of Michigan, the National Hispanic University, the American Association for Higher Education, the Council of Graduate Schools, and the State of Michigan. Garza holds baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

The first lecture of the series, held last March, featured Melvin L. Oliver Jr., vice president of the Asset Building and Community Development Program at the Ford Foundation, who presented "Alleviating Poverty, Building Assets for World-Class Cities."

The third lecture of the series will feature James H. Johnson, Jr., the William Rand Kenan Distinguished Professor of Management at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, who is also director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center and co-director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise. Johnson's lecture, "Creating Sustainable Communities in an Era of Fiscal Austerity," will take place on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. in Seeley Mudd Chapel at Whitworth.

The lecture series is part of Whitworth's "Lives of Commitment" project, which was launched in 2001 when the college received a $1,014,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The five-year program, overseen by Julia Stronks, professor of politics and history at Whitworth, is based on new research that identifies tools for helping college students develop a robust worldview that becomes a way of life after they graduate. The project supports visiting speakers, research seminars, faculty-development programs, and other initiatives to integrate worldview issues and civic engagement into the college culture and curriculum.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Julia Stronks, professor of politics and history at Whitworth and director of the Lives of Commitment Project, (509) 777-4577 or jstronks@whitworth.edu.

Barbara Brodrick, academic program assistant, Whitworth College, (509)777-3270 or bbrodrick@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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