IIE Europe Announces Award for Excellence

BUDAPEST, December 11, 2014—The Institute of International Education’s European Office is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014 IIE Europe Award for Excellence. This year the award goes to James Hensley to recognize his accomplishments in promoting closer educational relations between the United States and Europe through his leadership of the Dorrance Scholarship Programs.

Mr. Hensley is the Executive Director of the Dorrance Scholarship Programs in Arizona and Hawaii at the Arizona Community Foundation, an expanding philanthropic initiative, which supports first-generation college students with a generous scholarship and innovative programs in entrepreneurship, conservation, and international study.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Post Baccalaureate in Education from the University of Arizona (1985), he obtained a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration, Policy and Planning from the University of Southern California (2001).  

A native of Tucson, Arizona, Mr. Hensley has worked with secondary students and teachers at the Tucson Unified School District, the University of Southern California, and the College Board. In these capacities he held various positions all focused on college readiness. He has served on the boards of Opening Minds through the Arts Foundation (Tucson), and Telios Preparatory Academy School Board (Phoenix); and currently serves on various not-for-profit boards and committees affiliated with the University of Arizona Poetry Center (Tucson), the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson), and the Girl’s Leadership Academy of Arizona.

The Dorrance Scholarship Programs – celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year – was established by Bennett and Jacquie Dorrance at the Arizona Community Foundation. The original gift supported 10 Arizona public university students. Today the Dorrance Family Foundation sustains five distinct scholarship programs. The scholarships have supported around 400 recipients at Arizona’s three public universities, South Mountain Community College, and since 2011 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, as well. The scholarship is a model for educational philanthropy and is a signature program at the Arizona Community Foundation.

One important component of the scholarship is a summer seminar, which allows students who have completed their sophomore year to travel to various countries in Europe, which have included Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, Macedonia, Switzerland, Hungary, and Romania.

Maria Martin, a former Dorrance scholar, who also participated in the program as a chaperone, and currently works as Scholarship Coordinator, received the award on behalf of James Hensley at the IIE Europe Holiday Reception on December 9th in Budapest. She commented on the transformative experience for the scholarship recipients: “The world has opened up to us because of Jim.”

“With the 2014 Award, we are honoring a true champion of international education whose work has impacted the lives of many cohorts of first-generation college students in Arizona. Through the Dorrance Study Abroad Program, Jim directly contributes to Generation Study Abroad, IIE’s initiative to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by 2019,” said IIE Europe’s Director Ágnes Vajda.

About the Institute of International Education

An independent, not-for-profit founded in 1919, The Institute of International Education (IIE) is among the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations. IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors annually with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger. IIE has a network of 19 offices around the world led by talented and dedicated international education experts. IIENetwork is IIE’s membership program with over 1,300 member institutions around the world. Each IIENetwork designee is an important link in a network of over 7,000 individuals with a commitment to the internationalization of their institutions.

About the IIE Europe Award for Excellence

The IIE Europe Award for Excellence is an award initiative that was launched by the IIE European Office in 2011 to recognize outstanding achievement in international education. The criteria for recipients include meaningful contributions to IIE’s mission of Opening Minds to the World®, relevance to European higher education, and high impact on the European education community.


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