MC’s Nick Clifton named 2020 Newman Civic Fellow

MC’s Nick Clifton named 2020 Newman Civic Fellow

March 20, 2020

Nick Clifton ’22, a child development and learning with teacher licensure major at Maryville College, was recently named a 2020 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally.

Campus Compact is a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. The organization’s 2020 cohort – the largest group of Newman Civic Fellows to date – comprises 290 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., Greece, Lebanon, and Mexico.

The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, all Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors may nominate one student from their institution for the fellowship.

Clifton is a Bonner Scholar who volunteers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Alcoa, Tenn. He is also a member of the MC men’s basketball team who had a breakout rookie season in 2018-19, helping the Scots to their second-consecutive USA South Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament bid.

In his nomination letter, Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart praised Clifton’s leadership on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community.

“As a student preparing to be a high school history teacher, Nick is passionate about helping young people develop to their full potential and helping them understand the forces and events that have shaped our world,” Bogart wrote. “As a Bonner Scholar, Nick serves 10 hours a week as a tutor and mentor to young people in our community, promoting a healthy learning and recreational environment and interacting with students and parents to encourage success. He constantly seeks ways to strengthen our educational system and also to lift up young people who may not be noticed or encouraged to seek academic success.”

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides the students with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional and civic growth. Each year, Fellows are invited to a national, in-person conference of Newman Civic Fellows and participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

In his personal statement, which is included on his Newman Civic Fellows profile page, Clifton wrote that “learning is the basis for change.”

“Our education is what exposes us to ideas and tactics that can only be learned within a classroom,” he said.

Clifton, who is from Sylvania, Ga., wrote about growing up in a small town where teachers were not as equipped in the classroom as those in larger cities. As a result, students were not given proper tools for reaching success, creating a “detrimental circle of poverty.”

“I know I am not the only one who has experienced this,” Clifton wrote. “I work at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, where we serve under-privileged youth. I am working with students every day that faced many of the same challenges that I did. As I have continued my education, I have discovered that many minority students face the same challenges as me. The only way to overcome these issues is with systematic change.

“Continuing to develop leadership skills and broadening my education in public problems will help me one day provide greater enrichment to our youth,” he continued. “I believe that working with the Newman Civic Fellowship will further equip me to become the change that I hope to see in our public education system.”

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About Campus Compact:
Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit www.compact.org.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”