Former President Bush honors Penn State as leading University of Promise

October 14, 2003

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State has been named the recipient of the inaugural George Bush Promise of America Award for Schools, Colleges and Universities, in recognition of its efforts in helping young people throughout its campus communities.

Former President Bush, a long-time advocate of volunteer service, recognized Penn State for its commitment to children and youth on Oct. 15 at his presidential library in College Station, Texas.

"We are honored that President Bush personally selected Penn State for this award," said University President Graham B. Spanier. "We recognize that youth are a critical part of Penn State's efforts for 'Making Life Better' for Pennsylvanians, and indeed the nation and global community."

The George Bush Promise of America Awards, presented jointly by the former president and America's Promise — The Alliance for Youth, will be awarded in six categories: recognizing a community, a state, a business, a civic/service organization, a school/college or university, and a faith-based institution for their work to fulfill the Five Promises to youth, which are:

1. Caring Adults: Ongoing relationships with caring adults — parents, mentors, tutors or coaches;
2. Safe Places: Safe places with structured activities during nonschool hours;
3. Healthy Start: Healthy start and future;
4. Marketable Skills: Marketable skills through effective education; and
5. Opportunities to Serve: Opportunities to give back through community service.

In July 2003, Penn State took steps to broaden and extend its outreach to young people by signing a letter of commitment with America's Promise, to become a University of Promise. America's Promise, a nonprofit organization championed by Colin Powell, was founded at the historic Presidents' Summit for America's Future in April 1997, when former Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter and Ford challenged the nation to make youth a national priority and commit to a united effort to fulfill the Five Promises.

In 2000, Penn State's hotels — The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater — were the first hotels in Pennsylvania to join America's Promise by becoming Hotels of Promise.

"Our children are the true promise of America and when this important movement was launched, we challenged the nation to make young people a top priority," said President Bush. "As dedicated Americans continue to answer that call, the passion and leadership demonstrated by Penn State can serve as an inspiration to each of us, for they truly are keeping America's Promise."

Penn State is the largest university to make the commitment to America's Promise and the first university or college in the nation to have a Promise Station, an Internet-based "gathering place" where the Penn State community can share information, ideas, events and other resources supporting youth in the communities surrounding their campuses. Penn State's Promise Station can be found on the Web at

"The University has always offered many services to the youth of Pennsylvania, but this partnership with America's Promise helps us to better focus and expand our efforts to nurture and develop our young people," said Spanier. "This commitment reflects our responsibility to use our educational resources to improve the lives of young people."

President Bush, along with former Pennsylvania Sen. Harris Wofford and Alma Powell, co-chairs of America's Promise, is presenting the awards. Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet The Press and an America's Promise board member, are keynoting the event. Receiving the award for Penn State are Vicky Triponey, vice president for student affairs, and Arthur Carter, assistant vice president for student affairs.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009