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EFSC Student Earns Newman Civic Fellow Honor

March 21, 2018 - Eastern Florida State College student Matt Hudson has received national recognition for his exemplary leadership work on campus and in the community.

male sitting at deskA student on the Titusville Campus, Hudson has been named a Newman Civic Fellow for 2018 by the Campus Compact, a coalition of 1,110 college and university presidents.

The award is given annually to students for what the Compact calls their ability to inspire and mobilize others and tackle the causes of social problems in their communities.

Some 268 students from across the U.S. were named as fellows this year.

Hudson, 40, is a first-year student studying for his Associate in Arts Degree. He called the award “amazing.”

“I got emotional when I won. To know that so many people here see what I can do means a lot,” he said.

Eastern Florida President Dr. Jim Richey nominated Hudson, calling him an inspiration to everyone at the college.

“He represents the very best of our engaged students who combine significant service to our community, leadership and outstanding academic work,” said Richey.

Hudson was cited for establishing the Titusville campus EFSC Rotaract Club, serving as its president and leading projects that address hunger, poverty, disability awareness and environmental conservation.

He also volunteers as a peer tutor, helping fellow students with writing, research, time management and study skills.

Hudson was born with spina bifida and has had nine major surgeries related to the condition.

He has turned that adversity into advocacy for the disabled, creating workshops at high schools and the college to discuss living with a disability and the impact of bullying.

“When I speak to students, I tell them that disabilities are not limitations and that everyone can have a positive impact on the world around them,” Hudson said.

He wants to write a book on his experiences to share his story of strength and tolerance with a wide audience.

“Matt draws on his own experiences living with a disability to bring awareness and compassion to others,” said Richey. “He represents the very best of our engaged students and embodies the spirit of Eastern Florida State College.”

Hudson has contributed more than 600 hours of community service and plans to graduate as a prestigious Citizen Scholar, a designation given to a select group of students who combine community work with scholastic excellence through the EFSC Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

He was recently elected Student Government Association president for the Titusville Campus and will take office in August.

Through the Newman fellowship, Hudson will gain a variety of learning and networking opportunities, and attend a national conference in Boston of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear they are bringing people together in their communities to solve pressing problems. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it’s what our country and our world desperately need,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn.