Chestertown, MD, September 3, 2003 — Dr. John S. Toll and Washington College have been chosen by the Board of Directors of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation to be the first recipients of the "J. McKenny Willis, Jr. Community Service Award." The Willis Award was created this year to recognize a non-profit organization in the five-county Mid-Shore region that has provided exceptional service to the region, and to the individual most responsible for its success.
"During the last eight years, Washington College has emerged as one of the most highly regarded small colleges in the nation," said Charles T. Capute, chair of the Community Foundation. "To everyone involved, it is clear that the credit for this achievement belongs to Dr. Toll."
The award's namesake, J. McKenny Willis, who will celebrate his 100th birthday on October 31, is one of the Mid-Shore's most legendary community leaders. During his 65-year career Mr. Willis helped create and support many of the non-profit institutions now serving our region, including Memorial Hospital, the Talbot County YMCA and the Talbot County United Fund.
Dr. Toll, former Chancellor of the University of Maryland System, has served as President of Washington College since 1995. He recently announced his retirement from that post in 2004, following the successful completion of a five-year $92 million-plus campaign that has helped to re-establish the College as one of the premier institutions in its class.
A physicist by training, Dr. Toll worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory before joining the University of Maryland as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1953. He was named President of the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1965, and returned to Maryland to serve as President, and then the first Chancellor for the University of Maryland System from 1978 to 1989.
Dr. Toll has been the recipient of numerous awards during his career, including "Washingtonian of the Year" in 1985; Yale University Award for Distinguished Contributions, 1996; Lifetime Achievement Award, Maryland Association for Higher Education, 2000; Newsday Long Islander of the Century, 2000; and Phi Kappa Phi Distinguished Marylander for the Year, 2000.
Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in historic Chestertown. Washington College was recently recognized as one of the top 100 Best Liberal Arts Colleges nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and as one of the nation's Top 120 colleges in the forthcoming book, "Colleges of Distinction" (fall, 2003). Through programs such as its annual "Into Streets Day of Service," in which 360 incoming freshmen participated this August, and its Service Learning Program, Washington College encourages its students to volunteer and share their time and talents with local community organizations.
The Mid-Shore Community Foundation is the leading philanthropic organization in the five-county Mid-Shore region. The Foundation administers more than 50 charitable funds with a combined asset value in excess of $16 million. During its most recent fiscal year the Foundation distributed nearly $650,000 in charitable gifts, largely to non-profit organizations in the Mid-Shore region.
The Willis Award will be presented Thursday, October 9 at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD.