SOURCE: U.S. Public Service Academy

February 06, 2007 09:58 ET

U.S. Public Service Academy Co-Founder Wins 2007 Eli Segal Award

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 6, 2007 -- Chris Myers Asch, Co-Founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy, won the 2007 Eli Segal Award, AmeriCorps Alums announced today.

Named for the late Eli Segal, who served as the first CEO of the Corporation for National Service, the annual award honors an AmeriCorps alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurial commitment to service. The award entails a cash prize of $5,000 and national recognition within the service field.

AmeriCorps Alums, which represents the 400,000 alumni of AmeriCorps National Service, bestowed the award on Asch for making an exceptional impact on American society through two service initiatives he launched with the help of fellow Teach for America alumnus Shawn Raymond: the Sunflower County Freedom Project and the U.S. Public Service Academy.

Based in Sunflower, Mississippi (pop. 696), the Freedom Project is an intensive after-school program that prepares rural teenagers for success in college. Asch ran the Freedom Project from its inception in 1998 until 2006. After witnessing the failures of public leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Asch wrote a proposal to create the U.S. Public Service Academy, a four-year, federally-subsidized college modeled on the military service academies. Students would get an intensive undergraduate education focused on public service and leadership development. Following graduation, they would be required to serve for five years in education, health care, emergency management, or other public service fields.

In less than a year, the Academy has earned support across the country and on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Public Service Academy Act, sponsored by Sens. Hillary Clinton and Arlen Specter and Reps. James Moran and Christopher Shays, will be introduced in Congress later this month. "Now, more than ever, it is imperative that our nation improve its capacity to groom future public servants," said Sen. Clinton. "The Public Service Academy is an innovative way to strengthen and protect America."

"Eli Segal was and is an inspiration to those of us who are working to help America live up to its founding ideals," Asch said. "I accept this award on behalf of the Freedom Project's students and staff, as well as the many people who are helping to create the Public Service Academy."

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