W&L’s Maggie Shapiro Haskett Named Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel International The award honors professionals whose passion and devotion to the Jewish campus community enrich the lives of Hillel students.
Maggie Shapiro Haskett, director of Jewish life at Washington and Lee University, was named a Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence at Hillel International’s annual global assembly on Dec. 14.
The award honors professionals in various stages of their careers whose remarkable passion and outstanding devotion to the Jewish campus community enrich Hillel students’ lives and ensure that the organization reflects a culture of excellence, which sets a standard for all Hillel professionals to emulate.
Shapiro Haskett was nominated for the recognition by her peers and received the award virtually in front of nearly 1,000 Hillel professionals from around the world.
“I was shocked when I got word of the award,” said Shapiro Haskett. “Previous winners are seasoned, innovative Hillel professionals that I look up to as role models and leaders in the work of supporting Jewish life on campus, so it’s humbling and a real honor to find myself in their company.”
Shapiro Haskett joined W&L as the director of Jewish life in 2017. During her time on campus, she has increased collaboration and partnerships with many other organizations, especially those that serve underrepresented students at W&L.
“Maggie Shapiro Haskett exemplifies how Hillels throughout the world continue to inspire and support students, notwithstanding the profound challenges and disruptions of this past year,” said Hillel International President and CEO Adam Lehman. “We’re always proud of the work of our talented professionals, but especially now given how they’ve reimagined Hillel experiences to meet the unique needs of students during this period.”
In response to COVID-19, Shapiro Haskett worked with student leaders and colleagues across campus this fall on inventive ideas that allowed students to engage with one another while respecting COVID-19 restrictions. In one instance, Shapiro Haskett came up with the idea for a Shabbat program that allows students to receive a “Shabba-tote” filled with necessary items to host their own Shabbat dinners with roommates or close contacts in their own spaces on campus. She also introduced First-Year Students of Hillel (FYSH), a new initiative to connect incoming W&L students with upper-division students.
“This award is really a testament to the impact and strength of W&L Hillel and the talented students who make up our community,” Shapiro Haskett said. “I am only the second solo pro director ever to be named an Exemplar of Excellence, and it would not be possible without the team of student leaders that work alongside me to create our community. The award is a recognition that a Hillel or campus doesn’t need to be big in numbers to be a place that nurtures and creates an innovative and supportive Jewish community.”
Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Washington and Lee Hillel is inclusive and dedicated to offering the entire community opportunities to engage in all facets of Jewish life. Hillel builds Jewish identity by nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth, supporting interfaith engagement and robust community service work.