PAST USM PRESIDENTS TAKE A LOOK BACK AT DOC
Photo: Dr. Newton Cleghorne, Northern Caribbean University former Vice President of Student Services.
Photo Credit: Contributed
By: Katrich Walker
The late Vice President (VP) of Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Dr. Newton Cleghorne had been working with the young leaders of the United Student Movement (USM) for about five years, championing their causes and uplifting them through every situation they faced.
Some past USM presidents shared the outstanding impact that Doc, as he was so affectionately called, had on them, and the lessons they have learned by working with him prior to his passing.
The immediate past president of the USM, Ruel Haye said Dr. Cleghorne was a very forgiving man.
“Through all my experiences with him that I would even class some things as unforgivable, Doc was ready and willing to forgive, and he told me something, ‘Well, I know you might not be going into the ministry, but let me tell you something, you will have a lot of people to relate to that won’t have anything to do with the church based on how you treat them, so you never forget to be ready and willing to forgive and let them experience the heart of Jesus,’” he said.
Haye’s only remorse was that Doc was not buried on the main campus of the university.
“I am saddened that he wasn’t buried on campus to be a memorial because his sweat, his blood to a far extent shaped the culture a lot of us have come to experience. His memories will live on in every aspect of the campus, and let me tell you, it was every aspect because there was no space on campus that Dr. Cleghorne did not walk and cause some impact,” he said.
As VP of Student Services, Dr. Cleghorne was somewhat a supervisor and the faculty representative for the student government body, whose main responsibility is to advocate on behalf of the NCU students.
The 2019 to 2020 president of USM, Kavion Allen recalled that Dr. Cleghorne had always addressed him as “Mr. President.” Allen describes him as a diplomat who was very respectful and influential.
“There were times when he and I never had the same opinion on issues and we would have contending views and he was very respectful. He was an administrator who listened. He listened and so it made my interactions with him very easy. He was a diplomat, he loved organization, structure, and he was a stickler for protocols,” he said.
Allen added that Dr. Cleghorne has left with the USM the aspect of servant leadership and he allowed the students to voice their issues.
“He was the voice of the students. Even though I was the student representative there and yes, I fell under his sector, he allowed the students’ voices to be heard in the meeting room. He championed the cause of students. He was the epitome of student representation. He was young at heart,” he said.
Another president was Waney Woolery who sat in the 2016-2017 regime. He described Dr. Cleghorne as selfless, and a great mentor to the school and he would be remembered as a strong supporter of the USM.
“He was a mentor. His aim was to harness the best person you could be. He was that kind of person. He would push you to be the best version of yourself, and he was encouraging. He was never one to say you can’t do that. If it was impossible, he would say, ‘find an alternative,'” he said.
Woolery said that Dr. Cleghorne played a great role in his development as a USM president.
“As a USM president, he was very very integral in my development. He was not afraid to call to speak with me and whenever there were difficulties, I always call on him,” he said.
Woolery added that Dr. Cleghorne did not just see the USM body as young people, but was very mindful of their emotions and took nothing for granted.
Dr. Newton Cleghorne served as VP of Student Services since 2016 until his passing. He left an indelible mark on the student leaders and would have been pleased to see the progress they continue to make.
Without a doubt, his impact as a servant leader will help to prepare the students for the joy of service in this world and in the world to come.