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October 17, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Lessie L. Bass, associate professor of social work and director of the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center at East Carolina University, received the Award for Excellence in Public Service today from the Board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina. The award, announced during the Board’s regular October meeting—held on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee—was established in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize, and reward distinguished public service and outreach by faculty across the University. The 2008 award carries a $7,500 cash prize and was presented by UNC President Erskine Bowles and Public Service Award Committee member Phil Dixon of Greenville.
East Carolina University Professor Receives UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Public Service.
A member of the ECU faculty since 1993, Bass was honored for her painstaking efforts to improve the quality of life for residents of West Greenville, an economically deprived area of Pitt County that had been worn down by high crime rates, gang violence, drugs, and blighted housing. Drawing on her training and expertise in social work and her own personal values, Bass helped forge a coalition of West Greenville residents, city and county officials, and ECU and Pitt Community College faculty and administrators to plan and secure resources for a community center that could foster and help sustain neighborhood revitalization. Today the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center in West Greenville provides critical educational and outreach services that include after-school programs and summer camps, academic tutoring, GED and college-level classes, parenting programs, youth apprenticeship programs, small business workshops, and substance abuse counseling. Her work is recognized as a national model for community organization and urban planning.
Through her teaching, community outreach, and service on numerous committees and workgroups, Bass also has been a willing mentor and role model—one her ECU students describe as “social work in action.” In addition to her ongoing efforts in West Greenville, she has served on the Pitt County Planning Board, a Blue Ribbon Committee Established to Abolish Homelessness and a Domestic Violence Committee for the state of North Carolina. She has also served as an advisor, consultant, or trainer for multiple organizations, including Lenoir County Hospital, the Pitt County Mental Health Department, and the Halifax County Department of Social Services. She also has served on the Alliance Committee of Wayne County, the Henrietta H. Williams Foundation Board, and the Mt. Olive Downtown Revitalization Committee.