The 2019 John D. Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service will be presented to Fresno State senior Inez Hill, a psychology major from Fresno. The award, which includes a $2,500 scholarship, is given each year to a single student who exemplifies the commitment to service that John Welty championed during his 22 years (1991-2013) as president at Fresno State.

Hill’s passion for service began her sophomore year when she worked on creating a pipeline program for underrepresented youth in southwest Fresno. This passion led her to serve with Fresno Unified School District’s Girl Power Program and Fresno Street Saints Youth Employment and Leadership Program. Over the past three years, Hill has helped youth build more self-confidence, self-esteem and professional development skills, and she has served as a mentor to students in these programs.

Hill also dedicated a significant amount of time to The Saint Rest Plaza on Elm, a new plaza that was built in southwest Fresno to bring the community together through fellowship and healthy living. Hill volunteered at the plaza during the weekend farmers markets in an effort to provide fresh produce to the community, and she also helped provide fun, crafty activities for youth. She was invited to serve on the Saint Rest Plaza board as the volunteer coordinator.

Hill is a student leader with the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. As a member of the Service Experience with Richter Volunteer Events (SERVE) committee, she has planned and implemented five one-day service events that engaged over 180 of her peers in local service projects. As a member of the committee, Hill has worked with numerous agencies in the Valley such as Habitat for Humanity, Sierra Foothill Conservancy, Shinzen Gardens and Art of Life.

Hill most recently served as a co-director for the LIFT Conference, a gathering of student service leaders from across California. Through this leadership role, Hill planned a service conference for eight universities and over 100 participants.

Hill will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa this summer to participate in an international service-learning course. She will be teaching children computer skills and engaging them in recreational activities like surfing. She and fellow Fresno State student attendees will be completing a community project.

In response to winning the award, Hill said, “I serve because it’s what my heart desires. I feel so honored and appreciative of being given this award.”

The John D. Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service is sponsored by Fresno State’s Community Service Scholarship Program, in memory of Marc and Marjorie Radin, who shared Welty’s dedication for engaging students in service and making the region a better place. The Welty Award is administered by the Richter Center and the Career Development Center at Fresno State.

For more information, contact Taylan Parker, Richter Center, at 559.278.7079.

(Story by Taylan Parker)