First Recipient of Waves of Service Award Honored at Celebration of Excellence

From left: Charlene Underhill-Miller, adjunct faculty at GSEP and member of the Fuller Theological Seminary Alumni Council; Dr. Long, alumnus of GSEP and Fuller; and John Miller, vice chancellor of Pepperdine.

Dr. Steven Long (EdD ‘08), a graduate of the organizational leadership program, traveled from Taiwan to accept the first Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Waves of Service Alumni Award at the annual Celebration of Excellence on October 7, 2010. The award honors an alumnus providing outstanding services to others. It is presented through a partnership between GSEP and Pepperdine University’s Waves of Service office, which celebrates and connects Pepperdine alumni committed to volunteerism and careers of service worldwide.

The recipient is selected from  nominations by a committee of members of the Board of Visitors, faculty, and staff for leadership that improves and enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities at a local, national, or international level; and who reflects the core values of  GSEP in service to others. Criteria includes leadership ability, commitment to social responsibility and justice, level of impact and innovation, integrity and ethical standards of conduct, and respect for the dignity of all. In addition, the award includes a $2,000 gift that can be used toward tuition forgiveness, a scholarship to a current GSEP student, or the charity of the honoree’s choice.

Long was selected for inspiring changes in the educational training of students in Asia through the formation of the Champions Education Association (CEA) in Taiwan, R.O.C.; Hong Kong; and China. The nonprofit educational association provides leadership and career training for students in elementary school through the university level. The program has graduated two million students from classroom programs in public schools and universities, guided by over 5,500 trained  volunteer teachers. The association also oversees partnerships between volunteers, school and university administrators, teachers, student leaders, corporate sponsors, foundations, media, and government officers.

Beginning in the central region of  the nation with six people, Long’s initiative now includes 54 full-time staff overseeing 10 regions of the nation with over 177,000 students in classes this past year. The junior high students were the first focus under the “Say No to Drugs” umbrella. Even an anti-bullying curriculum has been developed. Few organizations work with teenagers in Taiwan, though the country has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world. With Long’s leadership the organization has reached the inner city as well as the rural youth. These efforts have been captured by United Way and other local corporate foundations so that success is measurable, and the programs continue to evolve as needed.

Long models a personal code of  ethics that embodies Pepperdine’s values and inspires the best in others. In 2003 the Taiwanese awarded Long the Ministry of Education (MOE) Personal Award for Promoting Social Education. In 2007 he received the MOE Award of Promotion of  Character/Morality Education. Long teaches cross-culturalism at several universities to encourage students to have a global view and accept other nationalities and practices. He is also a devoted husband and father of two sons, and adored by his colleagues, who nominated him for this award.

The Celebration of Excellence recognizes student scholarship recipients, as well as donors and friends of the University. The event took place at the Ayres Hotel in Manhattan Beach, and included an evening reception, program, and dinner.

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