The Alumni Award for Service to Humanity
This award recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding service to society; it pays tribute for time volunteered for the benefit of a community or non-profit institution. Contributions may have been made at local, state, or national levels.
Q&A with Allie Hunter ’06
How is winning an Ursinus Alumni Award significant for you?
It is a wonderful honor to be nominated and selected for the 2023 Alumni Award for Service to Humanity. I have tried to build a life and career based on service, and being recognized by my alumni peers means so much to me. Winning this award is especially significant because my service has focused primarily on the addiction and overdose crisis, which is an issue that is personally significant to me. I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight the importance of this issue, and to reflect on my experience at Ursinus and how it shaped the person I am today. Winning this award is also extra special to me because my advisor and mentor Joseph Melrose is also a past recipient. It is both humbling and inspiring to be in his company.
How did Ursinus College instill a desire to serve your community?
From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew Ursinus was a unique place. I still find myself reflecting on the questions we explored freshman year during the Common Intellectual Experience – What does it mean to be human? How should we live our lives? Ursinus provided me with so many opportunities to explore who I am and what my purpose may be. It gave me the skills and confidence to think big and believe in my own capacity to make a difference in the world. I have carried this drive to be part of something bigger than myself since graduation, and that ultimately has instilled my desire to lead through service and do as much good as possible, at every level possible.
Why has giving back to Ursinus been important to you?
Ursinus is part of who I am, and I know it’s truly the people who make Ursinus what it is. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the people who invested in me – my mentors, professors, friends – both during my time at Ursinus and throughout my career. It means a lot to be able to give back to a community that has given so much to me.
What was your proudest UC moment?
I have had so many proud moments and special experiences at Ursinus, I am not sure I can narrow it down to one. I remember multiple accomplishments on the rugby field, which I will not soon forget. I also remember how much support I was given my junior and senior year to pursue study abroad opportunities, grad school, and prestigious fellowships. Post-graduation, being invited to serve on a board of directors alongside my mentor Joseph Melrose was also quite a proud moment for me. And, if I may, receiving this award might top the list of proudest UC moments.
What advice do you have for current students and alumni who want to address needs in their community?
I think it has been the balance of being other-oriented and having strong self-efficacy that has enabled me to best serve my community. I have a strong confidence in my ability to figure things out and get things done. Simultaneously, I try to truly understand the needs of others, without judgment, and hold firm the belief that we are all just people trying to find our way and do our best. No one is better than anyone else, and no job is too small or too big for anyone. I ultimately found my purpose by combining my professional skills and personal experiences. Once I started authentically sharing my personal story and humbly trying to serve others who were impacted by addiction, I was able to make a transformative impact locally and nationally. We all have an issue that has impacted our lives or our communities. If you can find an issue that’s personally significant to you, and have a willingness to serve in small ways, you’ll gain the skills, confidence, and connections to serve in big ways too.
Previous Alumni Award for Service to Humanity recipients:
2019: Samuel C. Totaro, Jr. ’69
2018: Winnifred Berg Cutler ’73
2017: Laverne Joseph ’60
2016: Joseph Melrose ’66
2015: John S. Gould ’66
2014: Alexander E. Peay ’09
2013: Joan (Bradley) Parlee ’57