Westover Honors Fellow Kyle Thaller ’25 has been named to the 2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities. Thaller is one of 154 student civic leaders chosen from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico.
“I’m both humbled and honored to be the University of Lynchburg’s first Newman Civic Fellow,” Thaller said. “I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow Newmans and hearing their stories, while also figuring out ways on how best to serve our country and the world!
I hope this opportunity will allow me to continue to grow as a leader who is able to be a bridge between opposing groups and find common ground among all views and ideologies.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. Fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year.
In her nomination, President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar praised Thaller, a Bonner Leader and political science major with an international relations minor, as “a natural leader determined to create positive change in the world.”
A former U.S. Senate page and a youth leader in global humanitarian efforts, Thaller received a Type-1 Diabetes diagnosis at age 12. He founded Kyle’s Campaigns for Change, which focuses on humanitarian and policy work in South Sudan. Under his leadership, KCC has donated nearly $2 million worth of insulin and lifesaving supplies to Sudan and South Sudan clinics.
As a first-year student at the University of Lynchburg, Thaller formed Row4Life, a nonprofit that uses the sport of rowing to identify future leaders and athletes. In Fall 2022, Thaller expanded the program to promote global diversity among college students.
“This unique ‘glocal’ focus bridges the gap between local and global communities and inspires empathy between them,” Morrison-Shetlar wrote. “Thaller is creating a more just and equitable world through his efforts, pursuing the goal of ‘saving lives by never giving up.’”
Earlier this year, Thaller was invited to join the Clinton Global Initiative University, a branch of the Clinton Foundation that sponsors undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students who are undertaking projects with national and global implications.
The Newman fellowship provides students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows also participate in numerous virtual trainings to develop the skills and connections they need to make a difference in their communities and the world.
The fellowship’s Annual Convening of Newman Civic Fellows offers intensive in-person skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“We’re honored to recognize such an outstanding group of community-committed students,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “One of the best parts of the Newman Civic Fellowship is the richness of students’ perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds — and how these varied stories all led to their passionate engagement with the social, political, and environmental issues impacting our world.
“These students will be the catalysts for change on many levels, and we are privileged to help empower them to create that change.”
Learn more about the fellowship on Campus Compact’s website.