27th Annual CDI concludes with awards ceremony

CDI participants working together

CDI participants working together

Over 100 community leaders from Arkansas and surrounding states participated in the 27th annual Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas. The event, held July 29-August 2, concluded with a special graduation and awards ceremony.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation was honored with the Friend of Community Development Award, offered each year to an individual or organization that demonstrates strong support for community development and CDI. Additionally, former UCA Associate Provost and Graduate Dean, Dr. Elaine McNiece received the Bill Miller Award as recognition for her longstanding leadership and support of CDI.

Amy Whitehead, CDI Director, said, “CDI is about more than just training; it is about shared learning, networking, and a commitment to the field of community development. The awards ceremony is an opportunity for UCA to recognize leaders from around the state who are making a significant impact on CDI and the communities they serve. Our award recipients and graduates should be proud of the work they have completed through the institute.”

In addition to these two awards, CDI has specially designated awards that recognize outstanding individuals from each class of the program. In the Years 1 and 2 classes, the Champion of CDI award goes to an exceptional individual that displays qualities essential to community development, such as leadership and compassion. The Year 1 Champion was Lauren Isbell, Community Development Officer for Southern Bancorp Community Partners. The Year 2 champion was Harvey Joe Sanner, member of the Moving Prairie County Forward steering committee.

Gary Baxter, Mayor of the City of Mulberry, Arkansas, was awarded the Ernest Whitelaw Award. The Whitelaw Award recipient is chosen by his peers in the Year 3 Class for dedication to the practice of community development, involvement in the CDI experience, and personal leadership and integrity. After the awards ceremony, 32 community and economic professionals graduated from CDI 2013.

The Community Development Institute, established in 1987 at the University of Central Arkansas, in Conway, Arkansas, trains community and economic development professionals from Arkansas and surrounding states. The complete CDI experience is a three year training program, with one week of training per year. Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts, and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.

For more information about CDI, visit uca.edu/cdi, or contact Brett Roberts at 501-450-5269 or brettr@uca.edu.