Pillar of Service
The Frank J. Rice Memorial Award recipient and Pillar of Service for 2011 is Eugene Jackson, a self-proclaimed proud member of the University of Redlands Elite Grounds Crew.
“Today we honor a master gardener—a cultivator of not only plants but of young lives,” said Professor Lawry Finsen at Jackson’s award ceremony in December. “His energy abounds and always seems focused on worthy causes.”
Jackson is admired as a Master Gardener and helping-hand around campus. In addition to Jackson’s dedication to improving the University’s campus, he manages to find time to volunteer 6 hours a week to maintain the 400 roses in the Elsie Krum Memorial Rose Garden in Sylvan Park across the street from campus, in partnership with Redlands sorority women and student gardeners.
“It makes sense that a master gardener would be honored for his green thumb, but this gardener has a heart of gold,” said Professor Kathie Jenni.
Outside the University, Jackson regularly contributes his time to Los Angeles communities. He offers food and gift baskets to the homeless during the holiday season. He mediates among gang members to keep community schools and churches safe from criminal influence.
He volunteers as an adviser for the Boy Scouts of America, and has mentored many children through the Summer Youth Employment Program.
“I’m just one of a great number of people here at the University who volunteer, and they do it from the heart and because they care about what goes on in this community. I just enjoy volunteering and I enjoy working for this community,” Jackson said.
“These are the sort of things that I try to do and have a good positive attitude, and I really love our students here.
Honoring the late Frank J. Rice—University of Redlands alumnus and founder of the Los Angeles Men’s place (LAMP), a shelter housing mentally ill men and women on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles—this award has been presented for the past 13 years. The recipients are University employees who best exemplify the Rice’s vision by embracing the spirit of giving throughout the year.
Beginning in 2011, the Frank J. Rice Memorial Award will hang in the Hunsaker Center as tribute to both Rice and the recipient of the Pillar of Service award.