Livingstone College honored by President Obama - | WBTV Charlotte

Livingstone College honored by President Obama

Dr. Jimmy Kenkins, Livingstone College president (Source: Livingstone College) Dr. Jimmy Kenkins, Livingstone College president (Source: Livingstone College)
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -

Salisbury's Livingstone College was honored on Friday by President Obama, according to a news release provided by the college.

"In an affirmation of work that began at Livingstone College 11 years ago, the institution will be honored today by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony," the release states.  "Livingstone is being lauded for its success in helping students become healthier as part of the Healthy Campus Challenge. More than 350 colleges and universities participated in the Challenge that began in the fall of 2016."

Long before Livingstone students joined the challenge, however, they were encouraged to become healthier and to be more cognizant of the importance of health and wellness in their daily lives. That’s because President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. emphasized health and wellness when he took over the institution’s top administrative post in February 2006, according to Livingstone College officials.

In fact, health and wellness is one of the 10 tenets listed in contracts signed by students when they arrive on campus.

Friday's recognition ceremony began about 10:30 and was presided over by First Lady Michelle Obama. Dr. Orlando Lewis, vice president for student affairs, and Anthony Brown, director of student activities who led the college's effort, attended.

“We have worked to help students understand the positive consequence of making good little decisions and the direct connection between good health and a good life,” Jenkins said. “We also want to impact some of the major health problems from which too many people suffer, like obesity.

"Education is a great part of the solution to resolving this national issue, and I am excited that we will send staff to Washington for national recognition.”

Brown said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to work with the White House initiative on the Healthy Campus Challenge. Promoting affordable coverage for everyone seeking it is a great opportunity that can make a significant difference in the community and on our campus. I am so proud of the fact that because of our hard work, Livingstone College has been deemed as a Healthy Campus and was selected to participate in today’s event at The White House.”

Brown’s supervisor echoed his sentiments.

“Participating in the challenge through social media and face-to-face meetings with students regarding health insurance through the Affordable Care Act has generated education and awareness of healthy choices,” Lewis said. “The fact that Livingstone College is being honored in this way is a testament to the vision of our president, Dr. Jenkins, and to how diligently we’re working as a campus on many fronts. Today is a very big day for Livingstone College.”

Jenkins and Dr. Dari Caldwell, president of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, collaborated to get a Duke Endowment grant to learn about health problems faced by Livingstone students. The grant allowed students to work with a Novant health coach to help them make healthy eating choices, to exercise more and to set a goal of making better lifestyle decisions.

Livingstone applied to participate in the Challenge to make healthcare more affordable and to ensure their students’ education didn’t get sidetracked by health problems. Livingstone’s initiative revolved around Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, which added some 20 million people to the nation’s healthcare rolls – many of whom had previously lacked access to healthcare.

The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, was signed into law in March 2009. Most of its provisions became effective in January 2014. The U.S. Congress is debating repeal and replacement of the ACA. 

Livingstone College emphasized enrolling students under the Affordable Care Act by hosting in-person, on-campus enrollment opportunities and by using social media to remind students, faculty, alumni and the community about the ACA’s open-enrollment period. 

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