McKendree University's Jessica Lirios is a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow

Campus Compact Honors Community-Committed College Students

(LEBANON, Ill., April 3, 2017) — McKendree University senior Jessica Lirios, of Greenville, Ill., has been announced as a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow for her motivation and commitment to social change. She is one of 273 inspirational college students in 39 states honored this year by Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.

Students are nominated by their college and university presidents. McKendree University President James Dennis described Lirios as “an outstanding student who has used her education and life experiences to become a campus leader in community service and activism.”

Lirios is part of the McKendree Community Action Team (McCAT), a group committed to of service and leadership. Through McCAT, she coordinated a volunteer program working with children living at the Family Living Center, a transitional living center in East St. Louis. She has also worked with homeless veteran women, Hispanic students, and at risk college students.

Her interest in civic engagement was sparked, she says, by mission trips she took as a member of First Christian Church in Greenville. The psychology major believes various aspects of her life have helped her to develop a broadened worldview and an activist’s spirit. “My ethnic background teaches me to appreciate cultural differences. My Christian faith leads me to care deeply for others,” she said. “My study abroad experience taught me about cross-cultural leadership. My studies of psychology help me to better understand people and the way the human mind thinks, processes and motivates. My community service involvement guides me to learn first and then seek truly helpful ways to serve. The people that lead and support me ceaselessly encourage me to positively impact this world.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year fellowship for community-committed college students from nearly 1,000 Campus Compact member institutions, representing some 6 million students. Newman Fellows have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, Lirios will be a part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely re-designed fellowship, a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth. Learning and networking opportunities include a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

“The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “We rebuilt the Newman Civic Fellowship experience because our country needs more people who know how to bring communities together for positive change. We are thrilled to welcome this group of 273 exemplary students as the first cohort to participate in this new model.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. For more information, visit


Jessica Lirios

Jessica Lirios