Duquesne Professor Recognized by Homeless Children’s Group for Years of Volunteering

The Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF) honored a Duquesne University professor for his many years of volunteering for the nonprofit and the children it supports.

Dr. Erik Garrett, associate professor of communication and rhetorical studies in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, received The Joseph Lagana Volunteer Award at the HCEF's 17th annual Champions for Children Gala on March 7. This award honors members of the Pittsburgh community who have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of an estimated 2,900 children and youth experiencing homelessness and poverty in Allegheny County.

"Through his activities, Dr. Garrett has drawn colleagues and students at Duquesne into understanding as well as advocacy to improve this situation," said McAnulty Dean Dr. James Swindal. "His work exemplifies our University's mission of service."

Last year, Garrett received a Gaultier Community-Engaged Teaching Fellowship at Duquesne for his community engagement work, which included lectures on the challenges of urban living and his essay on child homelessness.

Collaborating with community partners to design project-based neighborhood engagement events, Garrett involved students in his upper-level classes to host and promote events, including the annual Stand up for Homeless Children event on campus. Student and staff participants stand in silence for 15 minutes while holding images of faces that represent the homeless children of Pittsburgh.

"Many people don't realize the large faction of children who are in shelters, couch-surfing from one friend's house to the next, or doubling up with other family members," said Bill Wolfe, HCEF executive director. "Champions for Children not only honors members of our community who have diligently worked to enrich the lives of these children, it also raises funds that go to their educational assistance, giving them the opportunity to further their schooling and ultimately, gainful employment upon graduation."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.