Padilla selected for THEC service award

Padilla selected for THEC service award

July 1, 2015

Stacey Padilla, a 2015 graduate of Maryville College, is among five college students in Tennessee to be named recipient of the 2015 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award sponsored by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Named for the late state representative from Nashville who was instrumental in passing legislation for community service recognition programs for higher education in 1991, the award recognizes outstanding community service at the campus level and carries a $1,000 cash prize.

“The individuals selected to receive recognition represent the many dimensions of community service – volunteer work, public service, charitable service and leadership roles in community organizations,” according to THEC’s website. “They serve as ambassadors for community service among the many diverse higher educational communities in Tennessee.”

Padilla, who was nominated for the award by administrators at the College, has been involved in a variety of “community-serving” activities since she arrived on campus in 2011, said the Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, MC campus minister, in her nomination letter. She was a founding member and leader of the Latino Student Association at Maryville College, working to support Latino students, to recruit and welcome Latino students in greater numbers, and to educate the larger community about the many facets of Latino culture. She was the president of the College’s Non-Profit Leadership Association and the liaison between the Bonner Scholars program and international students on campus.

Padilla’s longest-running activity has been serving at Haven House Domestic Violence Program’s safe house, McKee said. In September 2011, she began as a volunteer, then progressed into an intern and has served as an advocate since September of 2013.

“Every weekend you will find Stacey staying at Haven House, as the primary advocate for the residents of the house,” McKee said, adding that Haven House has found her service so valuable that they have extended an employment offer to her after graduation. “The work at Haven House has brought her into contact with a wide variety of women and children fleeing violent homes. One of the best compliments she has received was from a mother of two young girls, who told Stacey that her positive attitude was influencing her girls and that she was a role model to them. Stacey has helped to comfort, encourage, and educate these women about how domestic violence functions and how they can thrive in a life free of violence.”

As a student, Padilla has also served in several areas of education, assisting in the ESL classes at St. John United Methodist Church in Maryville, eventually co-leading the lower-level portion of the class (about 5-7 adults). She was a classroom assistant with a third grade class at Rockford Elementary for three semesters and an academic mentor at the school’s after-school program. She has been a member of the Comite Popular de Knoxville, a grassroots immigrant advocacy group.

“Part of this has been helping plan community education sessions for the recent executive actions regarding immigration reform, as well as becoming an active organizer of the Tuition Equality Now! campaign in this region,” McKee said.

The award was presented to Padilla during an awards banquet in Nashville on April 23.

Padilla, who majored in Spanish at Maryville College, is the daughter of Jose and Patricia Padilla of Knoxville, Tenn. She is a 2011 graduate of Hardin Valley Academy.

Other students receiving this year’s Harold Love Outstanding Community Involvement Award include: Feyisayo Aworunse of Southern College of Optometry, Bailey Hazouri of Belmont University, James Jordan of Tennessee Technological University and Erin Paul of Middle Tennessee State University.

By Chloe Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.