Montana State University

MSU's Townshend honored for leadership by national service organization

April 10, 2012

Michael Townshend of Colbert, Wash., has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact in recognition of his leadership across cultures to support positive change. Photo courtesy of Campus Compact.   High-Res Available

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Michael Townshend, a senior at Montana State University majoring in both mechanical engineering and political science from Colbert, Wash., has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Townshend is one of 162 student leaders from 32 states selected as 2012 Newman Civic Fellows as recognition for their work to find solutions for challenges facing their communities and for their service, community-based research and advocacy.

Townshend was commended for using training that he received in an MSU Leadership Foundations course about conflict resolution to facilitate positive changes at the university, particularly as a member of the hearing board for the University's Student Code of Conduct process.

Carmen McSpadden, director of MSU's Leadership Institute, said that Townshend is on schedule to graduate with two majors as well as a minor in aerospace engineering and certificates in leadership and international engineering, and still finds time for a busy schedule of service.

"On top of being an Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU) Senator, Michael is an active member and leader of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and a hearing board member for the University's Student Code of Conduct process," McSpadden said. "If that isn't enough, Michael is a teaching assistant for the MSU Leadership Fellows program, focusing on his interest in leading across cultures to support positive change. And as unbelievable as it may seem, he is also completing his private pilot license this fall, but not before heading to Morocco this summer for eight weeks to learn Arabic.

"Michael is passionate about fostering change in the arena of nonjudgmental communication - and recognizing that a key leadership skill in building community is supporting community communication that appreciates differences."

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Townshend will join a network of fellows around the country who will share ideas and tools through online networking.

"These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can--and does--play in building a better world," said Campus Compact Board Chair James B. Dworkin, chancellor at Purdue University North Central.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents representing more than 6 million students committed to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit

Carmen McSpadden (406) 994-7667,