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Community Service and Civic Engagement Earn Honors for Ithaca College Student

ITHACA, NY — For his outstanding record of community service and civic engagement, Ithaca College junior Aaron Lipford has been recognized as a 2014 Newman Civic Fellow. He is one of 197 students nationwide honored by Campus Compact, a coalition of college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education by improving community life and educating students for civic and social responsibility.

This is the third year in a row that an Ithaca College student has won this recognition.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” notes Campus Compact Board Chair James B. Dworkin. “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can — and does — play in building a better world.”

Lipford is majoring in biochemistry and minoring in African diaspora studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences. A Martin Luther King Scholar at the college, his passion for social justice inspired him to volunteer with Books Thru Bars, a community-based organization that sends books to prisoners across the United States.

He also works in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs (OSEMA), is the historian for the African Latino Society and serves as co-president of Created Equal, a student organization that addresses issues and provides solutions to problems facing LGBTQA people on campus and in the larger community.

Lipford was nominated for the award by Don Austin, assistant director of community service and leadership development in OSEMA.

“Aaron is an outstanding leader, and it is apparent that his involvement has impacted students and community members alike,” says Austin. “Not only has he encouraged others to volunteer, but he has also taught others that the prison-industrial complex in the United States is a civil rights crisis.”

In keeping with their generation’s emphasis on networks over hierarchies, Newman Civic Fellows will share ideas and materials to further their work through an online community created especially for them.

“I am truly honored to have been selected to receive this award,” says Lipford. “I have had a wonderful experience working within the Ithaca and Ithaca College communities, and want to continue to combine my passion for social justice with my student involvements. I cannot wait to begin communicating with other Fellows and sharing our various experiences. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to continue making effective social change occur within my community.”

The Newman Civic Fellows Award is sponsored by the KPMG Foundation. For more information on the award and Campus Compact, visit