November 8, 2010

Mentor Heidi Nightengale Receives Award for Community Service

Heidi Nightengale

Heidi Nightengale

(AUBURN, NY – Nov. 8, 2010) Peter A. Tortorici, the chairman of the Cayuga County Legislature read a proclamation honoring Heidi Nightengale, on the event of her receipt of the 2010 Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service. Nightengale is a faculty mentor in community and human services at Empire State College’s Auburn Unit. President Alan R. Davis presented Nightengale with the award, which comes with a cash prize of $2,500, at a reception at the Booker T. Washington Center, in Auburn, on Thursday, Nov. 4.

About 115 people attended the event, including Gwen Weber-McLeod, president, Booker T. Washington Community Center; Hon. Mark Frandich, Cayuga County Court System; Lloyd Hoskins, director, Cayuga County Youth Bureau; Camille Johnson, assistant superintendent of schools, Auburn Enlarged City School District; and George Feron, Cayuga County legislator.

Nightengale earned this honor due to her “passionate and unyielding” commitment to celebrating and enriching diversity in her community, and to improving the lives of those at-risk living within it. Her research, professional work and volunteerism focus on serving youth, who often have the fewest resources to speak and advocate for themselves.

“Heidi’s commitment to the community serves as an inspiration to both students and colleagues,” said Nikki Shrimpton, interim dean of the college’s Central New York Center. “She is unfailingly generous with her time and energy, and we are honored to have her as a member of our Empire State College community.”

Throughout her lifetime, Nightengale has been recognized by many organizations for her work. Most recently, she was honored by the NAACP with the Martin Luther King Jr. Millennium Award for a lifetime of celebrating diversity. She has served on countless boards and committees, including the mayor’s social justice task force team in Auburn. She has presented numerous scholarly talks to a range of local and national governmental and nonprofit audiences, including at the Innovations in American Government Conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Annual Federal Safe Schools Healthy Students Conference in San Francisco and the New York State Youth Bureau Annual Conference.

She also has supported at-risk teenage girls struggling to complete high school, taking young women under her wing to mentor them and empower them to focus on their school work in a safe and comfortable environment. Many have gone on to complete college.

In the words of one of the members of the Empire State College Foundation’s selection committee, “Her work connects the head with the heart.”

Nightengale holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Keuka College in English; a Master of Science degree from Cornell University in educational administration, and is earning an Ed.D in educational leadership and adult education at Liberty University.

About the Altes Prize

Named for Jane W. Altes, the former interim president of SUNY Empire State College (1998-2000), the Altes Prize is awarded by the college annually, and recognizes exemplary community service by an Empire State College faculty member who applies his or her academic expertise to address important community issues.