Professor Patrick Coggins, PhD, Receives Community Hero Award

portrait outside
Patrick Coggins, PhD

Raised by a single mother in Georgetown, Guyana, Patrick Coggins, PhD, along with his four siblings, observed how his mother was consistently involved as a community organizer and supporter despite her long hours as a seamstress.

“We didn’t have a lot of money, but she helped the poor and gave what she could,” said Coggins, professor of Education. “That really instilled in me the importance of giving back to my community. When I came to Stetson in 1991, I needed to give back, whether it was as an afterschool mentor, a reader, a role model or being at a career day event. I can’t talk about it if I’m not also doing it.”

On Nov. 9, for all he gives to others and his community, Coggins was awarded the 2023 Cecil Paul and Marie Jones Community Hero Award by The House Next Door in DeLand.

“The recipient of the Cecil Paul and Maria Jones Community Hero Award must have demonstrated over a significant period of time, dedication to the promotion of nurturing and empowering families in our community, combined with a strong sense of civic duty,” explained Jennifer Nadelkov, CEO of The House Next Door, in her remarks at the award ceremony. “Patrick Coggins has had a hand in countless great initiatives and community improvements in his lifetime.” 

Nadelkov added that Coggins is a distinguished professor and author whose influence extends far beyond academic dimension. 

“Being a South American has underscored his perspective that society must ensure that all individuals are provided with adequate education and opportunities to pursue a successful life wherever they choose to live and work,” Nadelkov commented. “Professionally, he focuses on the integration of substance abuse and other clients from a cultural perspective and cultural diversity training for counselors, administrators and policymakers in medical, human and other services.”

‘Always Volunteering’

“Patrick is always volunteering in the community,” said Kathy Piechura-Couture, PhD, professor of Education. “He cares about his community and often quietly supports others. He is a quiet force that is always working for the betterment of the community.”

Coggins has dedicated numerous volunteer hours for a myriad of organizations, including being past-vice chair of the Florida Commissioner of Education African American Studies Task Force and current member of the Florida Commissioner of Education Holocaust Education Task Force. He has served on the board for St. Peter’s Catholic Church, the YMCA, the Knights of Columbus and the DeLand Breakfast Rotary. Also, he is a past board member of The House Next Door. And that’s only a sampling of his past and present involvements.

“As a fellow Rotarian, one of my favorite things about Dr. Coggins is that he lives our motto, ‘Service Above Self,’” added Nadelkov. “I’ve spent countless hours working alongside him in various ways volunteering for the DeLand community. He takes great pride in serving his community.” 

The Cecil Paul and Maria Jones Community Hero Award was created six years ago in recognition of Paul and Maria Jones, who have dedicated decades of volunteer hours meeting the community’s needs, and have been steadfast supporters of The House Next Door.

-Trish Wieland