Indiana Campus Compact and the Hancock Hiltunen Caito Family Announce New Endowment for Top Faculty Award

Dena Rae Hancock and Caleb and Elijah Hiltunen present Dr. Tina Kruger (Indiana State University) with the first endowed Hiltunen Award

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Thanks to the generous gift of $10,000 from the Hancock Hiltunen Caito Family, Indiana Campus Compact is able to establish an endowment that will provide a cash prize for the winners of the annual Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for the Outstanding Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement.

Indiana Campus Compact presents The Brian Douglas Hiltunen Award annually to recognize faculty at Indiana Campus Compact partner institutions who are exemplars of the scholarship of engagement. These faculty members are leaders in the field of community engagement in higher education and they collaborate with colleagues, students, and community partners to make a lasting impact on Indiana communities through their research, teaching, and service. These faculty members are dedicated to the transformation of college students becoming well-informed, engaged, and productive members of society who are fully enabled to provide leadership and service that advances the public good in their communities.

In his essay, Creating the New American College, the late Ernest Boyer challenged higher education to recommit to service. He expressed concern about a “growing feeling in this country that higher education is a private benefit, not a public good.” To address this concern, Brian Hiltunen developed innovative and enduring programs to support faculty in their endeavors to recommit to service and thereby become connected to the community. Brian served Indiana Campus Compact for four years as Project Director prior to his death in 1999. The Hiltunen Award was established in 2000 to honor Brian’s legacy and those faculty who continue his work with the same passion for advancing the public good in higher education.

Dean Rae Hancock, Brian’s widow, was the founding Executive Director of Indiana Campus Compact and served in that capacity from 1993-1995.  Prior to Indiana Campus Compact, she began her career at the Indiana University Lilly Family School on Philanthropy as a Research Associate for Professor Robert L. Payton. It was there, working on a project centered on service learning, that the vision for an Indiana Campus Compact began to grow. After securing seed funding, Dena Rae was selected to run the new Compact.

“Brian and I both believed strongly in the power of service learning to change communities and lives.  Working together through the Indiana Campus Compact, both in academic work and service, was a way to develop a meaningful commitment to a passion we both held dear.”

Since her time with Indiana Campus Compact, Dena Rae has spent her career assisting other Indianapolis mission-driven organizations with fund development including serving Marian University as their Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Dena Rae now resides in Naples, Florida, where she and her husband, P. Robert Caito, are actively raising the last two of their seven children.

Dena Rae says this about the endowment of the award honoring her late husband, “My husband and I are thrilled to continue to be able to continue the blessing Brian developed in perpetuity; it’s a perfect way to honor his legacy.”

Current Indiana Campus Compact Executive Director J.R. Jamison says, “We are grateful for the work that Brian and Dena Rae put into building Indiana Campus Compact, and we appreciate this generous gift that will ensure the Hiltunen Award lives on. Regrettably, I never got the opportunity to know Brian, but I have worked closely with his initiatives for over a decade and know that this endowment will continue his dream of creating a better world.”

About Indiana Campus Compact

Indiana Campus Compact (ICC) is a partnership of Indiana’s public, private, and community college higher education institutions focused on advocating, implementing, and improving service engagement so that students graduate as well-informed, engaged, and productive members of society who are fully enabled to provide leadership and service that advances the public good in their communities. Indiana Campus Compact is an affiliate of National Campus Compact, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.