Demitrius McNeil ’18 defines success simply: doing what brings you joy. For McNeil, that means being a servant leader and thinking of others more than yourself. The dual business analytics and marketing major, who transferred to Le Moyne, reflected on this throughout his time at the College, carefully considering where his talents and abilities meet the world’s needs. He cultivated critical skills such as the ability to build community, think strategically, and listen with intent. Shortly after graduating, Demitrius began utilizing those skills. He worked with the 100 Black Men of Syracuse, Inc. to create and direct the Youth Impact Saturday program for Syracuse’s inner-city youth. The recent grad also worked as the Director of Business and Economic Development at CenterState CEO, an experience which he believes spurred his passion for building community and expanded his perspective on leadership. Earlier this fall, Demitrius joined the YMCA Metro Board of Directors as he plans to join the efforts of uplifting the Central New York region. Now McNeil is using those lessons and skills to give back to his alma mater as the College’s inaugural fellow in the Office of the President.
It’s a role that McNeil is embracing, particularly at a time when technology and demography are rapidly reshaping the landscape of higher education in ways that could not have been imagined even 10 years ago. The Le Moyne alumnus, who is also pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the College, has spent the first half of the yearlong assignment working in a variety of administrative offices across campus, including academic affairs, campus ministry and finance, deepening his understanding of their roles and working with the College’s leadership team. He will spend the second half working on a project-based assignment that most interest him. It’s an opportunity for him to focus on a subject that he finds to be most important. And along the way he will continue work alongside professors and administrators who are now his peers.
The fellowship was inspired by President Linda LeMura and the College’s leadership team, who wanted to offer more professional development opportunities for alumni. The intent of the program is to prepare alumni to assume leadership roles at Le Moyne, and more importantly, to continue building the future leaders of the world. It has reinforced McNeil’s belief that a degree from Le Moyne is more than an academic credential. It is, he has said, “an oath to do good in the world,” regardless of what field a graduate pursues. As College leaders celebrate the institution’s 75th anniversary, they are also looking forward to the next 75. McNeil hopes that they will continue to nurture graduates who are open-minded, ethical and inspired to give back. That is part of what this experience has allowed him to do – to give back to his alma mater.
“My years at Le Moyne were a powerful and life-changing time,” he says. “To have this opportunity to re-engage is exciting and rewarding. The fellowship will play an important role moving forward in helping the college to nurture and grow new talent.”