Notre Dame sophomore named 2020 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact

By: Katie McCauley

June 23, 2020

University of Notre Dame sophomore Evan McKenna has been named a 2020 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. Newman Civic Fellows actively address issues of inequality and political polarization and demonstrate the motivation and potential for effective long-term civic engagement. The fellowship lasts one year and provides training and resources that help students develop innovative and collaborative strategies for social change. It was created to honor the legacy of education leader Frank Newman.

In support of McKenna’s nomination, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., wrote, “Evan is not only a student committed to social change, he is also a student unafraid to lead and use his voice to enact social change and advocate for those who need it most. He has demonstrated the ability to align values, passion, and dedication in service to the local community and the common good.”

McKenna is a Psychology and English major who has been deeply engaged in advocacy and human rights issues since his first year at Notre Dame. McKenna is active at the Notre Dame Center for Civic Innovation, serving underprivileged students in South Bend. He visits elementary schools in the local community to teach children bullying and violence prevention strategies and hopes to launch speech, debate, and public speaking programs across local schools so students can discover the life-changing intersection of advocacy and education. McKenna has addressed county commissioners in Tennessee to advocate for the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and has been active in providing resources and support for children affected by immigration raids.

“Growing up in a small town in Appalachia where education was constantly ignored and devalued, I quickly realized the power of a great education—and the dangers of a poor one,” McKenna explains. “I strive to walk the walk, often organizing groups of activists when human rights are jeopardized. I believe that education is our greatest asset, the fundamental solution to deep-rooted systems of inequity and oppression.”

Contact: Dave Lassen, Center for Social Concerns, (574)631-8017,

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