SJC Professor Named Local Hero

PATCHOGUE, NY – JANUARY 8, 2010 – St. Joseph’s College is pleased to announce that Peter Barnett, adjunct professor in the Department of Religious Studies, was recognized as a Local Hero by Bank of America at the fifth annual Neighborhood Initiative Awards Celebration, which was held at the Children’s Museum on November 12, 2009. The award acknowledged Mr. Barnett’s longstanding commitment to helping the homeless on Long Island.

Mr. Barnett has been a leader in the fight to end homelessness on Long Island for almost three decades. Awarded $5,000 by Bank of America to donate to the charity of his choice, he selected the Wyandanch Homes and Property Development Corporation (WHPDC) as its recipient. Mr. Barnett serves as the executive director of WHPDC, a not-for-profit organization created in 1985 to help alleviate a severe housing shortage for economically disadvantaged families living in Wyandanch and other overpopulated Suffolk County communities. WHPDC has built and renovated 29 houses for homeless families to date. 

“I was very humbled to receive the award,” said Mr. Barnett. “I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I really enjoy helping the homeless. I hope that more people will begin to realize we all need to do more to help the poor on Long Island, especially now.”

Along with his work for WHPDC, Mr. Barnett belongs to several other organizations addressing homelessness on Long Island. He co-founded the Nassau-Suffolk Coalition for the Homeless, which has raised over $100 million to create supportive housing for the homeless population on Long Island over the past 20 years. He also serves as an appointee to the Suffolk County Legislature’s Welfare to Work Commission, working to redevelop welfare policies.

The Local Hero Award is part of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, a philanthropic program, which recognizes, supports and rewards community-based organizations, local heroes and student leaders working to improve their communities. The organization works with local leaders to identify critical issues and individuals working to alleviate those problems.  

Mr. Barnett has been a dedicated member of the SJC faculty for over two decades. He currently teaches courses in the Religious Studies Department.

About St. Joseph's College

St. Joseph's College has been dedicated to providing a diverse population of students in the New York metropolitan area with an affordable education rooted in the liberal arts tradition since 1916. Independent and coeducational, the College provides a strong academic and value-oriented education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, aiming to prepare each student for a life characterized by integrity, intellectual and spiritual values, social responsibility, and service. With campuses located in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn and in Patchogue, Long Island, the College offers degrees in more than 29 majors, special course offerings and certificates, affiliated and pre-professional programs.

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