Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Jefferson Youth Challenge Awards
Trabant University Center
October 7, 2013

Read the UDaily story

What a great day to recognize student service in Delaware! I’m thrilled to be here with Sam Beard, president and co-founder of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. I’m grateful for his lifelong dedication to service and for this program that recognizes and cultivates that same dedication in young people across the country.

Service is so important to who we are and fundamental to what we do. If we don’t put our learning to work helping people—if we don’t put our heart and soul and every ounce of energy into making this world a better place—we’ve got no business being here at all.

Our job is to engage, to advocate, to fight for others—and help them fight for themselves. Woodrow Wilson said, “We are not put into the world to sit still and know. We are put in it to act."

UDance and Lori’s Hands are acting.

UDance is only six years old, but it’s grown into the largest student-run philanthropy organization at UD. Last year alone, UDance raised more than $550,000 to fight pediatric cancer and support families battling on behalf of their children. I know your support means the world to them—at the toughest time in their lives.

I went to a UDance marathon a couple of years ago. I saw a lot of sweaty students with a lot more energy than they had any right to. It told me a great deal about the character of UD’s students: how committed you are, how resolved, how big of heart and how much fun you can have while doing so much good.

Thank you, Michael Smyth, co-executive coordinator, accepting on behalf of UDance, and advisor Adam Cantley.

Lori’s Hands
In 2009, Lori’s Hands was born out of a daughter’s love for her mother, a desire to carry on Lori LaFave’s life of service and good works.

Lori’s Hands helps chronically ill clients with the daily chores that can be so challenging when your mobility is compromised, when your energy is drained, when you’re living with pain.

We’ve integrated Lori’s Hands into an incredible service-learning course in the College of Health Sciences. “Chronic Illness in America: From Policy to Person” combines classroom and experiential learning, pairing students with Lori’s Hands’ clients. It’s open to students in any major.

The class helps connect human experience to course content, so that students can see and feel how health policy and practice really impact individuals, families and communities. It’s co-taught by Lori’s Hands founder Sarah LaFave. Thank you, Sarah.

Thank you, Alexa Rivandeneira, co-president, accepting for Lori’s Hands, and advisor Diane Kukich.


UD’s guiding mission is to apply our human talent to solve our most pressing social and civic issues, to make the world more caring, more compassionate, more humane.

You are this mission—in action.

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