Mary Ann Gawelek, Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Seton Hill University, will be honored on May 7 by United Way of Westmoreland County with its Community Champion Award at the organization’s 2013 Leadership Thank You event.

United Way of Westmoreland County presents the Community Champion award annually to a volunteer who has demonstrated a selfless commitment to moving the community forward, leads by example and has made the Westmoreland County region stronger and healthier thanks to their consistent efforts.

Gawelek has served as chair of United Way’s board of directors and is a founding member as well as former co-chair of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council. She also has served on numerous committees and teams with the organization, including impact cabinet, grant review team, campaign cabinet, executive committee, governance committee and multiple ad hoc committees and advisory roles.

"Mary Ann has served United Way of Westmoreland County in nearly every capacity and committee, bringing her incredible commitment, wisdom and leadership to benefit the people we serve. We are thrilled to honor her with the Community Champion Award," said Bobbi Watt Geer, United Way President and CEO.

“Mary Ann is truly deserving of this recognition from the United Way. She walks the talk on behalf of the University's mission and of the pillars of our Catholic social teaching. She is a role model for her peers, our faculty, staff, and students on the importance of service both to the University and to the regional community, " said Bibiana Boerio, Seton Hill University’s Interim President.

In addition to her roles with United Way, Gawelek has served the community at the Blackburn Center Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, a United Way partner agency. Gawelek first served on the Blackburn board of directors from 1997 to 2004, including a term as board president from 2001 to 2004. She was a founding member of Blackburn’s Social Transformation Committee, a group that is charged with guiding the social justice arm of the organization’s mission.

In addition, Gawelek was the driving force behind the development of the STAR Project (Social Transformation through Awareness and Resolve), a collaborative effort between Blackburn and Seton Hill. STAR aims to develop and evaluate primary prevention strategies related to domestic and sexual violence in a broader context of understanding the impact of gender norms on violence that is most often perpetrated against women.

Gawelek rejoined the Blackburn board in July 2010 and continues to serve as chair of the Social Transformation Committee.

Gawelek also serves as a member of the Greensburg Community Development Corporation’s (GCDC) board of directors. In working with the GCDC, she also served on the steering committee for the City of Greensburg health care district revitalization strategy. She is also part of the City of Greensburg/Seton Hill leadership team, which meets with private developers interested in renovating or building new commercial buildings within the community.

Gawelek joined the administration at Seton Hill in 1996. She is responsible for undergraduate, graduate and adult degree programs that serve more than 2,600 students. She earned her Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Boston University in Counseling Psychology and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The Leadership Thank You event will be held at the Waterworks Pub & Banquet Complex in Greensburg, Pa. from 5 to 8 pm May 7.