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University News | 04.10.24

From vision to action: Adler University to celebrate 20 years of social justice, impact, and community engagement

Inaugural event to also honor President Crossman, recognize excellence award winners

In a first-of-its-kind celebration, Adler University is inviting alums, students, faculty, staff, supporters, and friends to an inaugural event where the institution will celebrate its past achievements and highlight its ongoing community engagement efforts.

Aptly called “Building Community for Social Justice: Celebrating 20 Years of Adler University’s Growth and Gemeinschaftgefühl,” the celebration will be held May 9 on the Chicago Campus and May 16 on the Vancouver Campus, from 6-9 p.m. local time.

The events will help raise funds for the University’s newly created Adler Opportunity Scholarship Endowment, which provides need-based scholarships for incoming and continuing students. The endowment contributes to the development of informed and skilled professionals who are committed to social change and community service.

It will also recognize some of the very best in the Adler community, including honoring the tenure of Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., who has served as the institution’s president since 2003 and is stepping down this fall, and the presentation of a trio of excellence awards: the Alfred Adler Social Justice Awards, the Distinguished Alum Awards, and the President’s Excellence Awards.

“The school has blossomed into a university over the past 20 years, graduating a tremendous number of socially responsible practitioners who engage with communities and advance social justice,” said Chris Toft, vice president of Institutional Advancement. “Our new Building Community for Social Justice campus celebrations are wonderful opportunities for those who value Adler to come together and share the great news of Adler’s journey and community impact.”

Nominations sought for awards

As part of the celebrations, members of the Adler community will be honored, with recipients representing each of the three campuses. The awards are:

The Alfred Adler Social Justice Awards, presented by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, recognize individuals within the University community who embody the principles of Dr. Alfred Adler by advancing social justice and advocating for marginalized groups. These awards celebrate individuals who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in society and inspiring others to follow suit.

Submit your nominations through April 30 at noon CDT/10 a.m. PDT. One award will be given for each of the three campuses. The award for the Chicago and Online campuses will be presented on May 9, and the Vancouver Campus award will be presented on May 16.

“Dr. Adler was an early proponent of acknowledging the social factors that significantly impact both physical and mental health outcomes,” said Kahan Sablo, D.Ed., vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “These awards serve as a testament to our commitment to carry Dr. Adler’s legacy of promoting equality and inclusion.”

The President’s Excellence Awards, presented by the Office of the President, are a series of three separate honors that recognize employees and teams from across the University.

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership, which recognizes excellence by an employee who has embraced and provided leadership to meeting the strategic initiatives of the University.
  • President’s Award for Service to Students, which recognizes excellence in service to students and a commitment to ensuring a positive University experience for students.
  • President’s Award for Teamwork, which recognizes a department/committee who have worked collaboratively in an exceptional manner to achieve a University goal/strategic initiative.

Visit the nominations page to learn more about eligibility criteria. Submit nominations by April 26 at 3 p.m. CDT/1 p.m. PDT.

Lastly, the Distinguished Alum Awards, presented by the Office of Institutional Advancement, are given to members of the alum community who are standout examples of the Adler University mission and who are making a tremendous difference for social justice after their time at Adler. The Office of Institutional Advancement will select an alum recipient from all three campuses.

Community engagement and celebration

In addition to the awards ceremony, the Building Community for Social Justice event will showcase various elements highlighting Adler University’s past achievements and current impact.

The events will honor the past 20 years at Alder — and there has been a lot to celebrate, including:

  • Undergoing a transformative name, curricular, and strategic change from the Adler School of Professional Psychology to Adler University, and approximately a 900% increase in student enrolment from 200 to nearly 2,000.
  • Launching more than 20 new academic programs.
  • Earning the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in 2015 and President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Award in 2016.
  • Continuing growth of philanthropic efforts and increasing revenue that have strengthened the University’s financial position. Scholarship offerings have grown from $42,000 in 2003 to $6.7 million in 2023.
  • Building new world-class campus facilities in Chicago in 2010 and Vancouver in 2017.

Dedicated spaces will spotlight the community engagement efforts at Adler. At the Chicago Campus celebration, this will emphasize its collaboration with Thresholds, a nonprofit serving individuals with mental health and substance use disorders in Illinois, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank.

Lastly, other highlights of the events include a Living Library space for visitors to delve into specific topics and programs, and a recording station where attendees can share their Adler stories, akin to NPR’s StoryCorps collection.

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