Indiana Campus Compact honored Cogan Blackmon ’16, of Anderson, Ind., with the Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award for his established history of service, leadership and action in the community.
“For Cogan, all of life — inside and outside the classroom — is an act of service to the community,” Elizabeth Lynn, director of the Institute of Leadership and Service and adjunct professor of humanities and civic life, wrote in her recommendation letter. “Cogan’s impact is truly that of a multiplier, creating platforms and opportunities for his peers to engage, and moving forward and out of the way to let others also lead, while he looks for new ways to serve.”
Blackmon is a first-generation student majoring in theology with minors in Latin and philanthropic leadership and service. He’s is active in developing community and establishing new methods of service and says reflection is a crucial piece of his engagement as it enables him to continually improve and broaden his reach while never losing sight of his purpose and beliefs.
“I am both honored and privileged to receive this award,” Blackmon said. “It inspires me to improve upon my current commitments and facilitate action in others. While it is exciting to be acknowledged, I can’t help but think of all the people who have influenced me and worked alongside me who deserve the same recognition.”
Since his freshman year, Blackmon has had a profound impact on campus and in the larger community. As a member of the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT), he has participated in numerous initiatives to raise community awareness and create positive change in the community, including donating food to a local food pantry, serving as co-leader and race director for Color for a Cause, and chairing SALT’s World Relief Campaign.
Throughout his time at Valpo, Blackmon has sparked social change, creating opportunities for engagement whenever he saw a void. Seeing a need for an intentional faith community for young men, Blackmon co-founded Brothers Reaching Out his freshman year. This men’s ministry connects faith and action through service to the community. More recently, Blackmon continued his meaningful work in creating and coordinating the Civic Reflection Initiative, which is comprised of a network of students trained to facilitate civic reflection on campus and in the community.
“I grew up in a faith tradition, but being civically engaged has been entirely a product of my Valpo experience,” Blackmon said. “The opportunities and resources available here combined with the community, leaders, and freedom have allowed me to manifest my beliefs into action and challenged my way of thinking and living, which will affect my lifelong purpose.”
After graduation, Blackmon will serve Unity Lutheran Church in Milwaukee in the areas of pastoral administration as well as pastoral outreach. Thereafter, he hopes to attend seminary.