10/26/08 — Professor honored for community work

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Professor honored for community work

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 26, 2008 2:00 AM

Dr. Lessie Bass of Eureka, associate professor of social work and director of the Lucille Gorham Intergener-ational Center at East Carolina University, has received the Award of Excellence in Public Service from the UNC Board of Governors.

Announced during the board's recently meeting on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, the award was established in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize and reward distinguished public service and outreach by faculty across the multi-campus university system.

The 2008 recognition carries a $7,500 cash prize.

A member of the ECU faculty since 1993, Dr. Bass was honored for her painstaking efforts to improve the quality of life for residents of West Greenville, an area of Pitt County impacted by high crime rates, gang violence, drugs and blighted housing, according to a university news release.

She was instrumental in helping forge a coalition of residents, city and county officials, as well as faculty and administrators from ECU and Pitt Community College to plan and secure resources for a community center to foster and help sustain neighborhood revitalization.

The Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center now provides educational and outreach services -- including after-school programs and summer camps, academic tutoring, GED and college-level classes, parenting programs, youth apprenticeships, small business workshops and substance abuse counseling.

Dr. Bass' efforts are being recognized as a national model for community organization and urban planning. She was also the subject of a recent UNC-TV program, "North Carolina Now."

Touted as not only a mentor and role model for her teaching and community outreach, she has been described as "social work in action."

Dr. Bass has also been involved in the Alliance Committee of Wayne County, the Henrietta H. Williams Foundation Board, Mount Olive Downtown Revitaliza-tion Committee, Pitt County Planning Board and a Blue Ribbon Committee established to abolish homelessness and a domestic violence committee for the state.