Beza Mulatu

University of Richmond Junior Beza Mulatu Named 2024 Newman Civic Fellow for Exemplary Commitment to Public Service

Student Scholars

May 7, 2024

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — University of Richmond junior Bezawit Mulatu has been named a 2024–25 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education.

Mulatu is an international student from Ethiopia who is double majoring in biology and business administration. She has worked with communities both in Richmond, Virginia, and in her home country.

She serves as an active responder for UR Emergency Medical Services and the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad. She also works with the Pathways to a College Experience program through the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, where she helps introduce the possibility of a college education to Richmond-area youth.

In Ethiopia, Mulatu co-founded two non-profits, one focused on improving college access and one that aims to eradicate eye diseases with the hope of providing at-home optometric care for more 1,000 households in low-income communities. This summer, she is working on a research project focused on making Braille more accessible to those who need it, and is currently completing a Literary Braille Transcribing Certification from the National Federation of the Blind.

“Each day, I witness individuals across the world working tirelessly to make the world a better place, their dedication serving as a constant inspiration,” said Mulatu. “With the support and guidance of the Newman Civic Fellowship, I'm more motivated than ever to learn from other fellows and my mentors as we collaborate on innovative solutions to the challenges we face in the world, and I'm reminded of the power we have when we come together in service of a greater good.”

This is the seventh consecutive year that a UR student has been named a Newman Civic Fellow. The year-long program recognizes students who stand out for their leadership potential and commitment to creating positive change in communities. Students are nominated by their campus president and selected for their exemplary community commitment.

“Beza is a remarkable student, scholar, and leader who has taken initiative time and again to support her communities, both here in Richmond, Virginia, and in Ethiopia,” said University of Richmond President Kevin F. Hallock. “I greatly admire Beza's leadership on our campus and as a co-founder of two nonprofits. She is living a life of purpose and will continue to bring pride to our entire University community through her engagement with this fellowship.”

Over the course of a year, Mulatu will join about 140 other Newman Civic Fellows in learning and networking opportunities that help nurture their development as civic leaders. Programming emphasizes personal, professional, and civic growth that can empower them to collaborate effectively across disciplines and create positive change.

“One of the best parts of the Newman Civic Fellowships 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,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “These students will be the catalysts for change on many levels, and we are privileged to help empower them to create that change.”