Dr. John Gonas, assistant professor of business at Belmont University, and Joe Drake, a business major at Belmont, are recipients of the 2007 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award. This annual award is given to five faculty/staff recipients and five student recipients in Tennessee higher education institutions. The individuals selected to receive recognition represent the many dimensions of community service volunteer work, public service, charitable service and leadership roles in community organizations. They serve as ambassadors for community service among the many diverse higher educational communities in Tennessee. The award is named after the late Tennessee state representative Harold Love who was instrumental in passing legislation that created community service recognition programs for higher education students and faculty/staff at the campus level.
Gonas and Drake were nominated for their instrumental work with the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) program at Belmont that began during the 2005-06 academic year. Under the leadership of Gonas, adviser to Belmont’s SIFE team, students have worked to help social agencies and minority entrepreneurs develop sustainable business plans and products. The Belmont SIFE team has worked with Thistle Farms of the Magdalene Project, Mama Turney’s Pies and Conexion Americas. Belmont students have also taught financial literacy to young men participating in the 100 Kings program (a partnership between Belmont and 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee) and to students from immigrant families through a program with Catholic Charities at a local high school. Students also participate in Voluntary Tax Income Assistance (VITA) to assist low-income and elderly taxpayers and the Mocha Club to promote awareness fo the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa.