Giving at Graduation has been a tradition at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service since 2010, when the school collected pencils, pens, and other school supplies for the Little Rock School District’s Volunteers in Public Schools (ViPS) at its commencement.
Each year, the Clinton School selects a local organization and encourages students and graduation attendees to bring items for that organization. This year it is A Bridge to Work, a City of Little Rock Partnership with Canvas Community Church that offers same-day work
opportunities to individuals experiencing homelessness through a six-month pilot program with the goal of connecting participants to stable employment. Guests are encouraged to bring new men’s and women’s socks.
Giving at Graduation started as an idea by 2010 graduate Nicholas Hall, who drew the inspiration from his Clinton School project research.
“I attempted to start a philanthropic business in the model of TOMS Shoes and Ethos Water,” Hall said. “I was researching them, but while I was researching I ended up forming a business where the whole idea was to use large-scale events as places where good can be done.”
Hall, currently a second-year student at the University of North Carolina School of Law and officer in the North Carolina National Guard, used his business idea to partner with other organizations as well, including Arkansas Foodbank and Habitat for Humanity.
Other previous Giving at Graduation organizational recipients include Our House, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Mobile Dental Clinic, the Van, Jericho Way Resource Center, Central Arkansas Library System’s Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library, Arkansas Foodbank, UA Little Rock Trojan Campus Food Pantry, and Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.
In the nine years since the initiative started, thousands of items have been donated and thousands of dollars have been raised.
“We see every graduation as an opportunity to help others, and we hope high schools and other college and universities around the country will do the same,” Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III said. “One year we asked for toothbrushes and toothpaste. We’ve found that even small acts of giving go a very long way.”
At the graduation ceremony Dr. Christina Standerfer, a Clinton School faculty member, will deliver the commencement address.
“In recognition and appreciation of Dr. Standerfer’s Clinton School career, she will deliver the commencement address at this year’s graduation,” Rutherford said. “I am very pleased she has agreed to do so.”
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees recently named Dr. Christina Standerfer Professor Emeritus of Communication. Her emeritus status is effective July 1, 2019.
Standerfer is the first Clinton School faculty member to achieve emeritus status. Tom Bruce was named Dean Emeritus in 2008.
Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III made the recommendation to University of Arkansas System President Dr. Don Bobbitt who approved it and recommended it to the board of trustees.
Standerfer joined the Clinton School of Public Service in 2007 and has most recently served as Faculty Director for the Office of Community Engagement.