Press Release for Monday, July 25, 2005

UNF Summer Commencement Slated for Aug. 5

Contact: Joanna Norris
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida will honor two students with outstanding records of volunteerism when it hands out 799 degrees Friday, August 5, at 7 p.m. during summer commencement at the Arena.

Jacqueline Thies, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, will be recognized as the recipient of the Senior Service Award, while the Albert D. Ernest Jr. Caring Award will be presented to Annie Litchfield, a Spring 2006 criminal justice graduate.

The UNF Alumni Association presents the Senior Service Award to a graduating senior for outstanding volunteer service to the University or community. The Caring Award recognizes a student who demonstrates the spirit of caring, humanitarianism and volunteerism exemplified by Albert Ernest.

Thies has been active in a number of worthy community service projects, including Community Hospice and the American Red Cross, where she conducts education programs on asthma and diabetes. She also provides blood pressure checks at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and serves as a bereavement counselor for Intensive Caring Unlimited, a telephone support group for families who are having a high-risk pregnancy, have given birth to a premature baby or have experienced the death of an infant. Thies is not only active in the community but is equally active on campus. This past year she served as president of the UNF Student Nurses Association and chapter president of the Florida Student Nurses Association.

Although Thies feels that all volunteer service is important, her most rewarding work is volunteering for Intensive Care Unlimited. “I am aware that the grief journey is a long and painful one, and I aspire to be of help in the healing,” she said.

Litchfield has worked with several community projects, including Hubbard House, where she painted and cleaned walls, and Clara White Mission, where she served breakfast and lunch to the needy. She has also volunteered numerous times at the Boggy Creek Camp for Terminally Ill Children. Here she had the opportunity to be a friend to children with HIV. Her first independent service project was organizing a clothing drive for the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless. Litchfield is also active on the UNF campus, serving on the Honors Council, Honors Student Union and as chair of the Honors Student Union Service Committee. Additionally, she works as a recruiting coordinator for the Honors Program.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every service experience I have ever had,” said Litchfield. “Each time I help another, I am helping myself grow into a more compassionate individual who cares for humanity.”

The University expects to award 622 bachelor’s degrees, more than 170 master’s degrees and three doctorates this term.