The Civic and Community Engagement and Research Project (CCERP) presented its annual Distinguished Civic Leadership Awards on April 7. Several awards were presented along with a performance by the regional nonprofit organization, Scaling Walls A Note at a Time (SWAN), which was also recognized for its achievements.

Amanda Walter was the recipient of the Newman Civic Fellow Award. Walter, a junior majoring in business administration, was recognized for her student leadership on campus as well as her efforts in sustainability which included environmental preservation, social justice and economic equality.

Amanda Walter

Jan Bechtel, currently a graduate student in the social work program, was honored for her civic work as a Millersville University student. Bechtel is a member and active participant on the President’s Commissions on Cultural Diversity and the Women’s Commission on the Status of Women. She is also the founder and director of the Tree House program through Alder Health Services in Harrisburg and promotes LGBT equality in the community.

Bechtel appears in the University’s YouTube video. View it at

Jeri Robinson-Lawrence was honored for her civic work as a Millersville University faculty member. Robinson-Lawrence, an art professor, founded the Red Rose 4-H Fiber Artists Club. The club serves youth in Lancaster and Lebanon County, teaching skills on how to knit, spin, weave and crochet, while bestowing leadership and confidence to the next generation.

Addie Ritenour ’11M was honored for her civic work as a Millersville University alumna. Ritenour, who earned her master’s degree in special education, has spread her passion for supporting children with disabilities by developing Los Amigos, an after-school program. Her efforts have been instrumental in developing a special needs ministry at Westminister Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. She is also a head coach and participant for the Girls on the Run Race in Lancaster.

Steve O’Neill ’10, Millersville University alumnus, was honored for his contributions to a nonprofit organization. O’Neill coordinates the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free tax preparation services to low and moderate-income individuals and families making less than $50,000 a year. He also serves as a member of the Lancaster Money in Your Pocket Coalition.

The Millersville University chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha was recognized for countless hours of volunteer service projects to the nonprofit organizations Excentia and the S. June Smith Center during the current academic year, raising $10,000 for the projects efforts.

Finally, Dr. Francine G. McNairy received the Lifetime Achievement Award. As 13th president of Millersville University, she championed faculty, student and staff diversity, global education and economic development within the Lancaster region.


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