Dennis Felty of the Elizabethtown College class of ‘68 and the late Rev. Motlalepula Chabaku of the class of ‘81 received the Educate for Service award last October at the President’s yearly dinner.
This year, Felty received the award for service through professional achievement. Felty dedicated his career to helping children and adults who suffer from mental illness and disabilities.
He began his journey before ever leaving Etown by taking a job within the Department of Public Welfare at the Harrisburg State Hospital.
He studied the hospital and found many areas where growth and change could occur. In 1972, with the help of his wife Barbara, Felty cofounded Keystone Human Services. Keystone Human Services is an organization that supplies home and community services that allow people with mental disabilities to be active members in their communities.
In his acceptance speech, Felty reflected on his career and the opportunities he had seen for change. “The essence of the Educate for Service transaction is that these opportunities bring meaning and purpose to life and open the door to a lifelong richness of experience, opportunity, learning and meaning,” Felty said.
The second Educate for Service award of the evening was given to the late Rev. Motlalepula Chabaku ’81. Chabaku received the Service To Humanity award for her role in the South African political landscape. She served as the secretary for the African National Congress’ Women’s League. Chabaku was also responsible for the building of churches for those who were persecuted for their religious beliefs after Nelson Mandela passed away. After she retired, Chabaku still served as an advisor to her organizations that dedicated themselves to the same work she did for her entire life.
Mark Clapper, the director of alumni relations at Etown, spoke of the importance and dual purpose of the Service to Humanity award. “We consider it the highest award an alumna or alumnus can receive from the Alumni Association,” Clapper said. However, this award is not just to recognize the alumni of the College but to recognize that these recipients have been in the same place that current students are in. “These award recipients walked the same halls and sat in the same classrooms as current students,” Clapper said. The award is meant to inspire future Etown alumni. It is a way to show that current Etown students can make a difference in the world, just like Felty and Chabaku did.
The Educate for Service award recognizes the outstanding achievements of Etown alumni. The award was first given in 1966 and ever since has acknowledged alumni for their dedication to live out the College’s motto, “Educate for Service.” The award is broken into three different categories: service through professional achievement, service to the College and service to humanity.
Current Etown alumni will nominate other alums that they feel would fit one of these three categories. They will send the person’s name, along with their resumé, to the Award Committee. The Award Committee will then go through each nominee and decide who should be chosen for each category. After choosing a recipient for each category, they will take their decisions to the Alumni Council and the Council will get the final say as to who will receive each award.