Peggy Gilbert, Assistant Professor of Marketing, continues a 40 plus year devotion to serving her community. This length of service has seen many projects and volunteer activities, but two main passions have provided direct impact to the betterment of disadvantaged individuals. Many years ago, Peggy befriended Arkansas educator Tereze Harris, who shared Peggy’s passion for student success. Together they founded the Math ‘ACE’ Club to assist students living in the impoverished rural areas of southeast Arkansas. Peggy’s involvement included leadership roles, designing logos and coordinating and donating student incentive items such as
T-Shirts, mugs and trophies. She states that her service is just one way she has tried to help encourage academic excellence on the part of students. Continuing in its mission today, hundreds of students have participated in the program with renewed confidence in their personal and academic abilities and have graduated to become leaders in a variety of professions.
In 1985, Peggy was a founding board member that established the Tereze Harris Scholarship Foundation, honoring the woman who spent her life teaching in some of the most economically disadvantaged areas in Arkansas. Peggy personally funded the scholarship program for the first ten years, providing much needed financial assistance, encouragement and inspiration to many high school students.
Peggy is also known for her involvement in assisting and defending the elderly against abuse and bullying. For over forty years, Peggy has been “on call” responding to visitation and transportation needs as well as diffusing intense, confrontational situations involving a variety of elder abuse circumstances. Calls for help come from her church, local hospitals and from those around the community who know of Peggy’s fearless passion and devotion to assist elderly persons who are lonely, gravely ill, harassed, mistreated or suicidal. She travels to those individual’s homes, nursing facilities and/or hospital rooms caring for their specific needs at all hour’s day and night.
Peggy’s efforts have benefitted many organizations and individuals over the years both by her personal efforts and through her academic teaching. Over a span of 30 years, her marketing and consumer behavior students have provided nearly 15,000 volunteer and service learning hours to the Springfield community, even before there was a public affairs mission. Her passion and devotion to others and her mission to ‘stand for others when they cannot,’ has impacted countless lives in untold ways. For all these reasons, we recognize Peggy Gilbert with the Faculty Excellence in Community Service Award.