The Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy celebrated the service of Bush Board Fellows at a pinning ceremony on January 22, 2021, virtually. Dr. Lori Taylor, Head of the Department of Public Service and Administration, welcomed the audience of students, executive directors, and board members from local nonprofit organizations, as well as a few family members of students who were being recognized.
Dr. Kenny Taylor, Director of Outreach and Professional Development, served as master of ceremony for the evening. Dr. Taylor talked about the role of Bush Board Fellows. The program places graduate students as non-voting board members at local nonprofit organizations. Benefits include allowing the students to connect classroom learning to real-world engagement on topics such as fundraising, fiscal and legal governance, and strategic planning. Students overwhelmingly indicate they plan to serve on a board in the future, so the Board Fellows program serves as a powerful tool for developing future public servants.
Dr. William Brown, Director of the Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy, provided a short historical background of the program. Approximately ten years ago, students from the Bush School started serving on local nonprofit boards as part of Shadow Boards, now called Bush Board Fellows. The program has grown significantly for the 2021 calendar year, sending twenty-nine master’s students to serve fourteen organizations in the Brazos Valley, with thirty-one returning students to serve a second year.
Bush Board Fellows serving year one were presented a lapel pin by the leadership of each of the local nonprofit organizations acknowledging their commitment to public service. Students serving a second year wore their pins proudly to the ceremony and were presented a small gift of appreciation. After the pinning ceremony, the students and community leaders met in individual breakout rooms.
We were all reminded of the words of our former leader:
“Public service is a noble calling, and we need men and women of character to believe that they can make a difference in their communities, in their states, and in their country.”
– President George H. W. Bush, September 1997