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J. Frederick Miller Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service

Mariana Ortega, 2022-23 Recipient

About the Honoree

Fred Miller, a career YMCA professional, served as General Secretary of the University YMCA at the University of Illinois from 1958-1967. Under his leadership hundreds of staff, faculty and students gained a special appreciation for the importance of volunteer service, to the University YMCA and to the community. As a result of their experiences many have made life-long commitments to their communities and society.

About the Award

Given for distinguished volunteer service by a staff or faculty member of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or a member of the Religious Workers Association of Urbana-Champaign. The Miller Award will be given to an individual who has made significant contributions as a volunteer during his or her life in the local community. The award recognizes direct public service to the campus or local community and efforts of organizing and delivering community service. The award honors volunteer participation which, in the judgment of the Board of Governors of the University YMCA, reflects an expression of moral understanding and civic responsibility and stands as a model of such service to students and others in this community.

Mariana Ortega, 2022-23 Recipient

Mariana Ortega is the Director for La Casa Cultural Latina at the University of Illinois, and a PhD student in the College of Education with a focus on Human Resources and Development. She has a passion for serving the Latinx community both on and off campus, and gives back to our community in a variety of ways. She currently serves as Vice-President on the Board of Directors of Girls Go For It, an organization that empowers girls to pursue their passions and boldly achieve their dreams. She also serves on the Parkland College Foundation Women of Impact Committee, a grassroots giving circle of compassionate, diverse, and influential women dedicated to helping women students at Parkland College through scholarship support.

As a volunteer with the local community radio station WEPA, 90.1 FM, Mariana launched a Spanish segment, En Comunidad, and she also serves as a Champaign County Ambassador, using her own experiences as a native of Nicaragua who was raised in Florida, to help provide a sense of belonging to new residents who are also not from the Midwest.

Through her many activities, she has been instrumental in the acclimation of many students and residents into the campus and local community, and provided great support for women and people of color. In both her professional capacity and her volunteer roles, Mariana has been able to connect student and community members to each other and to different organizations, and played an impactful role in the lives of many

Past Award Recipients

2023: Mariana Ortega

2022: Matt Wallig

2021: Ken Salo

2020: Korinta Maldonado

2019: DoMonique Arnold

2018: Sam Smith

2017: Ann-Perry Witmer

2016: Ann Abbott

2015: Stacy Harwood

2014: Ross Wantland

2013: Rebecca Ginsburg

2012: Brian Deal

2011: Amy Sponsler

2010: Bruce Litchfield

2009: James Treat

2008: Anton G. Endress

2007: Carlton Mills

2006: Dan Larson & Greg Goodale

2005: Stephen Hartnett

2004: Belden Fields

2003:  Rev. Karen Bush

2002: Robert McKim

2001: Reverend Hallett

2000: Jim Holiman

1999: Claire Szoke

1998: Robert Silverman

1997: Shirley Stillinger

1996: Rev. Jack Reiffer

1995: Ken Reardon

1994: Patricia Morey

1993: Esther Patt

1992: Imani Bazzell

1991: Steve Shoemaker

1990: Bruce Larson

1989: Carol Livingston

1988: Robert Bohl