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The Agapé Center for Service and Learning

Agapé Center - Historical Highlights


Messiah College



Service and learning have been central to the institutional vocation of Messiah College since its inception in 1909. The stories of student and faculty involvement within the local community and abroad have been documented throughout the College's history as having a strong foundation for a service tradition that has become a disctinctive part of a Messiah education.  Throughout the years, these early informal expressions of service have given way to a more institutional approach to service-learning.



Historic Roots of Service at Messiah College

Since the inception of the College in 1909, service has been an integral part Messiah's foundation.


Institutional Commitment to Service

President D. Ray Hostetter requested sabbatical to partner with Daystar University in Kenya.


Service-Learning Courses Conceptualized

Academic Dean Harold Heie conceptualized the first SERV course sequence.


First Director of Service-Learning Appointed

Vern Blackburn was designated as the first Director of Service-Learning.

Dr. John Eby replaced Vern Blackburn as Director

Centralizing Service-Learning with Academics

Dr. Mary Ann Hollinger was appointed as Associate Dean for Expternal programs to centralized curricular and co-curricular service-learning.


Building Dedicated to Emerging Program

President Sawatsky dedicated the newly renovated Agape Center for Service and Learning.


Host National Faith-Based Service-Learning (FBSL) Conference

Messiah College hosted a Biennual National Service-Learning Conference for Faith-Based Colleges and Universities to direct constructive conversation.


Recognized for Community Involvement

Dr. John Eby was nominated as one of ten finalists at the 2004 National Gathering of Educators for Community Engagement.


Research and Review of Programs

The Agape Center was awarded a $15,000 grant from CCU to study spirituality and faith-based service-learning diaglogue.

Chad Frey named Director of the Agape Center and Service-Learning

COE Service-Learning Committee Established

Messiah College adopted an institutional definition of service-learning, outlined common criteria, and established a standing service-learning governance committee


Recognized on President's Community Service Honor Roll

Nationally recognized with distinction by the President and Corporation for National Community Service

Received New Carnegie Foundation Classification for Community Engagement
Completed comprehensive 7 year program review

Recognized by US News and World Report

Highlighted as a "Program to Look For...' in service-learning


Listed in Washington Monthly Top 10 List

Ranked for the second year in a row among the best baccalaureate colleges and universities for community service activities


Hosted 7th National Faith-Based Service-Learning Conference

Presenters included Maureen Curley, President of Campus Compact and Barbara Holland, international service-learning researcher and consultant.


Together For Tomorrow National Award

Received national award by US Department of Education, Corporation for National Community Service, and White House for partnership with Harrisburg School District to improve student acheivement.