A Grove City College senior who ministers to local children with disabilities and a teacher whose work has beautified the community will be honored for their contributions to the strong “town-gown” relationship enjoyed by the College and the Grove City community.
Rachel Odell ’16, a psychology major from Ashville, N.Y., and Chris Bauer, a Grove City Area School District art teacher, are the 2015 recipients of the Grove City College Florence E. MacKenzie Campus-Community Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Carnegie Alumni Center on campus.
On top of heavy course load and two jobs – one on campus and one with a church – campus award-winner Odell is the leader of a team of volunteers who help children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. She visits one local teenager with cerebral palsy on a weekly basis, reading to her and talking to her despite the teen’s limited ability to communicate. Working through Capernaum, a branch of the global youth ministry Young Life, she leads other volunteers who reach out to disabled children and coordinate weekly events and activities, making sure each child gets the one-on-one attention they need from the volunteers.
Odell is only the third student winner in the awards’ 33-year history. The others were: Lise (Janke ’92) Sentell in 1992 and Jonathan R. Wagner ’11 in 2010.
The community award goes to Bauer, who teaches art at Grove City High School and Highland Primary Center and works with George Jr. Republic students on the innovative statues that grace the streets in and around Olde Town Grove City. Bauer’s efforts to take art out of the classroom are evident around town. He and his students have worked on projects at the local YMCA and a physical therapy practice, created sand sculptures for Waterfire events in Sharon, Pa., and held annual art shows displaying student work. Bauer has also taught a class in art for elementary education majors at Grove City College that brought students from the College and the community together.
The Campus Community Awards are named for Florence E. MacKenzie, the wife of former Grove City College president Dr. Charles S. MacKenzie. Her efforts to cultivate the relationship between the College and the Grove City community included serving as president of Grove City Woman’s Club, the Shakespeare Club, the Women’s Bowling League, secretary of the local United Way and president the Grove City Hospital Board of Trustees, where she oversaw the merger of the Bashline/Rossman and Grove City Hospitals, today known as the Grove City Medical Center.
Following her death in December 1981, President MacKenzie created the Campus-Community Awards to honor her vision and effort and appointed a committee to seek nominations of qualified individuals from both areas whose volunteer efforts embodied the spirit of her work. The awards have been presented since 1983.