Coghlin Award

Above and Beyond

January 2, 2014
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Annual Edwin B. Coghlin ’23 Award for Community Service once again set to recognize those who exceed expectations in helping others.

It’s a given that a school with the motto “Theory and Practice” would emphasize the real-world applications of classroom findings. Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of giving back to the public, for which the university honors one of its own with this Community Service Award. For the public, it is an opportunity to shine light on those whose contributions selflessly benefit the community; for the winners, it means well-deserved recognition and validation for their hard work.

The award is presented annually in memory of Edwin Coghlin ’23, who was the third of five family members to attend WPI. Throughout his life, Coghlin displayed a determined commitment to community action that benefited the university and the greater Worcester region, itself. His work with the United Way, Worcester Area Boy Scouts, and Worcester Boys Club, as well as his tireless involvement with the WPI Alumni Association Board of Directors and other university-related service, display a lifelong dedication to bettering the community.

This dedication is central to WPI’s tenet of nurturing students to know “how their work can impact society and improve the quality of life.” (http://www.wpi.edu/about/index.html)

Like Coghlin, the ideal candidate shows excellence in leadership skills in the direction of helping individuals or groups in the community through academic and extracurricular efforts. Beyond the requisite field work that comes along with being a WPI student, those interested in the Coghlin Award should exceed expectations and inspire others to organize and do the same.

Past winner Joon-Ho Lee describes winning the award as “an honor.” His work with the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) allowed him to help classes rethink the tutoring process by letting students lead the discussions. While he respects the university’s commitment to service through its various student projects, winning the award taught him that “it means so much more to the people you help if you stay involved and continue to give back even when it’s not required.”

In addition to those lucky enough to receive it, the award stands as a symbol of WPI’s commitment to fostering a sense of community through volunteer work. Recognizing the students who gave their time to bettering the community through service work, the award acts to validate the work itself and inspire the leaders of tomorrow to embark on a path of co-curricular service activities.

In order to be eligible to win, enrolled students must be in good academic standing and be able to show evidence of their efforts in the field of community service and campus activity involvement. They must have a good attitude about how important service work is to WPI and be willing to represent that principle accordingly.

The winner(s) will receive $300 to benefit a charity of their choice. Anyone from campus or the Worcester community can nominate a student or group for the Coghlin Award by filling out a form by Jan. 24 HERE. Awards will be presented at a ceremony on April 7.

Additional information about nomination and selection criteria can be found HERE or by contacting community-service@wpi.edu.

- By Ryan Morin

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