Drake Ingram, a junior criminology major, was recently named a 2022-2023 Newman Civic Fellow along with 172 student civic leaders from 38 states by Campus Compact, a national coalition of educational institutions that work to help improve civic and community engagement in higher education.
Ingram currently serves as president of the Brothers’ Forum, an organization that was created to support African American males and men of color on campus with their social and academic aspirations. He is also a member of the Black Student Union on campus, an organization to help inspire, educate and empower African-American students.
Before Ingram graduates, he hopes to help Black students get the sense of community and resources necessary to grow at the University of La Verne with the help of the Brothers’ Forum and the Black Student Union.
“When I got here, many of the Black organizations and the minority organizations were very standoffish toward one another,” Ingram said. “And that was simply because they hadn’t received a certain amount of encouragement or support from the University up until recently when more and more students started advocating for it, especially in Black organizations where our Black population was relatively low.”
Ingram said that he has realized the need for everyone, including staff and faculty, to get better results.
“Once we started having more and more of those conversations, the Black population on campus grew and it became easier to address what the issues were for us on campus, what we needed as a group, holistically as a community and I feel like it has gotten better,” Ingram said. “It is nowhere near perfect, but we are definitely making improvements.”
Director of Multicultural Affairs Daniel Loera and Misty Levingston, associate director of multicultural affairs and Black student services, work alongside Ingram to help improve the organizations he is involved in.
“Drake is dependable, clear and he has a vision for what he wants to see his fellow students gain experience around,” Loera said. “He knows what it means to have an experience that will provide additional learning and open additional doors for other students.”
Levingston said he goes above and beyond his duties as a student leader.
“Our initiative for Black students is that we want to increase retention in graduation rates,” Levingston said. “As president of a retention program we work directly with Brothers’ Forum to provide that support. Drake has gone above and beyond what I would consider the call of duty for a student leader.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship acknowledges and supports community-committed students who want to make a positive change and solve problems in their community. It is a year-long fellowship that provides students with learning and networking opportunities.
Newman Civic Fellows also have the opportunity to attend an optional conference hosted in Boston.
“Hopefully when Drake comes back from the conference he comes back rejuvenated, re-energized and maybe with new ideas on how he can collaborate with other students on campus,” Julissa Espinoza, director of community engagement, said. “There are a lot of growth opportunities and professional development opportunities involved with the program.”
Loera and Levingston both said they are proud of Ingram and what he has accomplished so far and that he is being recognized for his involvement on campus.
“It gives me great pride to see that he has been identified and bestowed this honor because I also know that he has the ability and the capability of growing with it and doing more with it,” Loera said. “I see Drake as someone who is ready to experience new things and I know he will take advantage of that opportunity for his own growth and for giving back to the community.”
Ingram was also awarded the Spirit of La Verne award before he was named a Newman Civic Fellow. He will be recognized alongside 10 individuals who represent the five departments of the Ludwick Center in a ceremony May 3.
“I am so proud of him…to see how far he has come as a student trying to be involved and seeing him lead a program and win these awards is amazing because we get to see his potential and how hard working he is,” Levingston said. “I am so proud of him. It is what he deserves.”
Samira Felix can be reached at samira.Felix@laverne.edu.