Culver to receive Men of Excellence Award June 11
Jim Culver, director of Palm Beach State College’s Upward Bound program, is among nine local leaders who will receive the 2016 Men of Excellence Award for their outstanding service to the community.
This year’s honorees, including leaders in education, business, health care and politics, will be recognized during a dinner gala hosted by the West Palm Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in partnership with the Delta Heritage Foundation. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 11 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Most of the honorees were selected after a nomination process open to the community. However, this year, the sorority will present a special honor—the Civil and Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award—to U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and retired Judge Edward Rogers.
Culver, who has worked at Palm Beach State for 20 years, is receiving an award for excellence in education. “I’m excited, elated, encouraged and honored to be a recipient of this award,’’ he said. “I’ve worked hard for many years without ever thinking of receiving an award, and now I know that someone has recognized my efforts of giving back to the community.”
A U.S. Army veteran, Culver began his career at Palm Beach State in 1996 as a part-time instructor of Parent Education and Family Education (formerly Children First), a four-hour court mandated course for parents going through a divorce. In 2002, he was named director of Upward Bound, a federally funded TRIO program that serves 63 students annually from John I. Leonard, Forest Hill, Palm Beach Lakes and Lake Worth high schools. He has continued teaching the class while also overseeing the Upward Bound program, which helps at risk, first generation and/or low income students prepare for postsecondary education after graduating high school. The program offers personal and academic enrichment sessions, college tours as well as a six-week summer program, including three weeks in which they live in a dormitory at Palm Beach Atlantic University to experience college life.
Culver, a native of Maryland, has served as a speaker at numerous events for youth and adults hosted by the city of Riviera Beach, The Links, the Coalition of 100 Black Women and other groups. He also has written articles for various publications, including Parenting Plus magazine and the Palm Beach County Mental Health Newsletter.
“He’s always willing to go anything above what we ask him to do. He really cares about the students,” said Sandi Barrett, director of Corporate and Continuing Education, which is authorized by the Department of Children and Families to offer the class for parents who are getting divorced. “He does an excellent job. Students are required to be here, but he always makes it a worthwhile experience for the students.”
“Mr. Culver interacts really well with the students. They seem to really listen to him, to take direction from him, and are motivated,’’ said Dr. Monica Powers, TRIO and outreach director. “The passion that he has for them is so apparent. It just shines through. He’s very committed to the program, and he’s very committed to students.”
Culver is a father of two adult daughters, including, one who is a former Army officer and now works for the Department of Defense. She plans to travel from Afghanistan to see him get the award.
Culver said he enjoys the positive impact that he has on youth and adults from his work. “You always have to be that constant mentor, that beacon of light and instill hope in them,” he said.
He said he aims to give his Upward Bound students and the adults in his classes everything he has and then some. “My legacy will be that I didn’t stop until my eyes closed, and even then I tried to get up,’’ he said.
Tickets to the Men of Excellence Awards are $75 for cash or check and $77 for credit cards via PayPal. For tickets and to learn more about the event, visit www.wpbdst.org.