Pam Rector, Center for Service and Action (CSA) director, was awarded the Barbara Bonney Staff Award at the 26th annual Staff Service Awards Luncheon on Feb. 8, 2019. Rector is celebrating her 20th year of service and received multiple nominations.
“I am honored to receive this award and have been overwhelmed by the response,” said Rector. “I think more than anything my work has been made possible by the people I have been able to collaborate with because you don’t do anything by yourself. This award is a reflection about the work of the community at LMU.”
Rector was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the LMU Children’s Center. When she started working at LMU, she was surprised to learn that the campus did not have a children’s center. “After needing childcare, I partnered a group of parents on campus to push forward the idea of a creating one on campus,” said Rector. “We visited several other childcare centers to decide on what the philosophy of the center should be, put a director in place and made a financial commitment to send our children before completion.”
Rector was also integral to the founding and growth of CSA and served as a community liaison to the Westchester community. “One of my best days here at LMU was the day I got a phone call that CSA was receiving a million-dollar donation in the form of an endowment from the Hilton Foundation,” said Rector. “Our goal at CSA is to encourage students to engage honestly in the community. Both with the members of the community and the staff at those agencies.
“We want them to see what injustice moves them and to talk with the community members to see if there are ways to collaborate and become an advocate.”
One of the programs Rector is most proud of is “El Espejo,” which is Spanish for “mirror.” This mentoring program started 25 years ago. It connects over 80 LMU students with over 150 high-risk students at Lennox Middle School. “What I love the most is the relationships that form between the mentors and the mentees,” said Rector. “Every year at the end of each semester they offer a certificate event where the mentors, the mentees and their families can all come. It affirms the idea that education isn’t just for the mentee; it’s for the whole family.”
During the award presentation at the 26thannual Staff Service Awards, Rich Rocheleau, associate vice president for student life shared these remarks about Rector:
“During Pam’s tenure at LMU, the staff of CSA has grown from one professional (Pam alone) to six. The number of service organizations has increased from five to 10 and now includes over 450 students. LMU’s Alternative Breaks program, which started as one trip for a dozen students, now serves nearly 150 students on 12 trips annually. CSA supports all of LMU’s for credit community-based learning courses in partnership with Academic Affairs. Finally, CSA’s newest signature program, the Ignatian Service Corps, which began in 2015 – allows nine recent graduates the opportunity to live in the community and serve at sites across the city of Los Angeles.”
“Looking back on my 20 years at LMU, the most satisfying relationship I’ve had is with the students,” said Rector. “I feel fortunate to get to know so many of students that we have sent forward into the world. I love getting to see how they are living out their lives. And that’s our mission here: to have students engage in the community beyond LMU, to reflect on their experience and take action in the world.”