Five faculty members have each received $10,000 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist grants to carry out creative projects, including several that have a focus on public service in the arts. NYSCA also awarded a $40,000…
Learn How InclusiveU Student Thomas Wilson ’23 Is Fulfilling His Dreams on the ‘’Cuse Conversations’ Podcast
Like most children, Thomas Wilson ’23 grew up watching television. But unlike most children, his preferred shows weren’t cartoons. Rather, he loved watching both the local and national newscasts, dreaming of one day sitting behind the anchor desk or serving as a reporter.
Today, Wilson is fulfilling his dreams through the School of Education’s InclusiveU program, which, thanks to an initiative from the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education brings students of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities to campus to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting.
Wilson, a senior studying broadcast and digital journalism in the Newhouse School and political science in the Maxwell Schoool, recently was named one of this year’s recipients of the Unsung Hero Award in honor of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was honored for embodying Dr. King’s legacy through his love and support for the Syracuse University community.
Wilson is well-known on campus. He works at the Schine Student Center, and is highly involved with the Syracuse University Catholic Center.
A news anchor on Citrus TV, Wilson is also the executive producer and show creator of “Thomas on the Town,” a show where Wilson interviews University community members for the Orange Television Network.
“Some of my peers in our news organization look up to me. That makes me feel very good about myself because that means I’m doing my job right, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to tell the news to our campus,” says Wilson, who proudly wears his own “Thomas on the Town” socks to go with a tie depicting his likeness.
A leader who inspires colleagues and community members to be better, Wilson stops by to discuss how he fell in love with the news at an early age, why InclusiveU is like his second family, why he’s motivated to prove all those who doubted him wrong and why earning his degree this May will be his proudest accomplishment.
Note: This conversation was edited for brevity and clarity.
Check out episode 132 of the “’Cuse Conversations” podcast featuring Thomas Wilson ’23. A transcript [PDF] is also available.
01What was it about the news that really appealed to you as a child?
I watched not just the national news, but I also liked the local news. It was interesting because you get to hear about what’s going on locally, and then with the national news you learned what was going on around the world. The news reporters are telling people what’s going on, and the people count on the news reporters and anchors to tell them the stories of the day. The viewers trust you to tell them the important stories and this is something I always wanted to do.
02How has InclusiveU helped you have the chance to experience college life, thrive and pursue your interests?
I’m thankful for everyone who assists me in the classroom and I’m grateful. I’m very thankful to those individuals who helped me become who I am to this very day. It feels very good because it tells me they really care about me. They make sure I get the job done. We’re a big happy family.
03You've been called an inspiration, someone who exemplifies everything that's good about Syracuse University. How do you think you inspire people?
I love to go around our campus, taking time out of my day to check in on everyone to see how they’re doing. I think it’s very important to check on everyone once in a while to make sure they’re doing okay.
04How can you describe the feeling you're going to have when you graduate later this spring?
I get very emotional. It’s going to be the proudest moment I’ve ever accomplished because people told me I would never get this far. But guess what? I proved them wrong. Everyone who told me that, I think they’re going to be in shock when they hear I graduated from Syracuse University. When they told me those things, it was very hurtful, but I get to show them now when I walk across the stage and shake the hand of our dean. I can say “look at me now, I am a college graduate!”