Donald Foley came to Xavier from Wisconsin to study Sociology, but he got his first real lesson in culture at a nearby high school early in his freshman year. He joined the MuskieTigers, a Xavier student club that runs an after-school program at Withrow High School to help immigrant and refugee high-school students adjust to American social and academic culture and transition to college.
In his sophomore year, Foley stepped up to serve as president of the club and continued as president through his senior year. The club is advised by the director of Xavier's Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning. Among its many activities, the club helped the high-school students respond to and understand the cultural issues behind acts of vandalism and racism at the school by welcoming American-born students to the program and creating events that celebrated all cultures there.
For his work with the MuskieTigers and advancing the Xavier mission of serving others, Foley, who graduated on Saturday, May 18, was named a recipient of the 2019 Charles J. Ping Student Service Award, recognizing Ohio college students for outstanding leadership and contributions to community service. The award is presented annually by Ohio Campus Compact, a statewide non-profit coalition of 41 college and university presidents and their campuses working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education.
“Working directly with the Withrow refugee and immigrant students, I had the unique experience and the great honor to learn the aspects of cultures that are celebrated most by refugees within our community, rather than hearing the negative experiences highlighted in the news that bring the refugees to the United States,” Foley said.
“It was an honor and joy to empower these students in their new culture and allow them to feel more comfortable celebrating their home cultures in their new school, city and country.”
Next step for Donald? Volunteering with L’Arche International, a non-profit organization that provides housing and support for adults with disabilities in Cork, Ireland.
Learn more about the Charles J. Ping Student Service Award.
Learn more about the Xavier mission at the Center for Faith & Justice.