Shaquille Armstrong '19

Photo of Shaquille Armstrong '19


  • Sociology/criminal justice major from East St. Louis, Illinois
  • Nationally Recognized as 2016 Campus Compact Newman Fellow
  • Recipient of 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award
  • Event Coordinator for the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service
  • Vice President of the Black Student Organization
  • Student Ambassador for the Social Justice and Equity Committee

by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney '10

Sophomore Shaquille Armstrong’s journey to McKendree started with a university billboard that posed the challenge to “Become a Better You.” One year, two prestigious awards, and three leadership roles later, he has learned firsthand that “if you have a passion for something, you must become the change you want to see.”

Shaquille didn’t expect to make such a difference in the life of the campus during his freshman year, but he always had a heart for serving others. After spending one semester at a large state university, he transferred to McKendree to pursue his dream of becoming a public defendant.

Shaquille immediately took advantage of the strong community outreach and student diversity activities on campus, becoming involved in and soon organizing events for the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service and Black Student Organization. In just his first semester, he led the campus’ annual Empty Bowls fundraiser during Hunger and Homelessness Week and coordinated a Christmas party and gifts for local children in need.

“McKendree says to ‘Make Your Mark,’ so I just knew I had to get involved,” said Shaquille.


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“My time here has taught me many things, but most importantly, to use my voice. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and you only have one voice, so use it to the highest possibility.”


It was that voice for social change that inspired McKendree administrators to invite Shaquille to be a student ambassador on the university’s first-ever Social Justice and Equity Committee. Leading a series of conversations about issues such as race, diversity, and exclusion, Shaquille ensures that students, faculty, and staff have a comfortable environment to discuss key topics and differences.

Photo of Shaquille Armstrong '19His dedication to promoting understanding and tolerance earned him national recognition and two major awards this year. Nominated by Former President James Dennis, Shaquille was one of only 218 students across the United States selected to be a Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. He also received the McKendree University Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award for his outstanding work to further diversity and acceptance among all people. Rather than feeling as though his work is done, however, Shaquille views his accolades as evidence of the need for continued efforts. “I was speechless, and when others ask why I received the awards, I always say, ‘I have three years left at McKendree to give them a definite answer.’”

Shaquille has even bigger goals for the rest of his time as a student, including implementing a program for homeless citizens in the community and creating a support group for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. He knows that at McKendree, the opportunities for personal growth are endless, and the idea that one person really can make a difference is a reality.

Learn more about McKendree University and the Sociology/Criminal Justice Program.


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