A former local high school student is being recognized for his advisory skills by a university known for its tradition of leadership excellence.
Tommy Newsom II, a 2012 Liberty High School graduate, has been named Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls Advisor of the Year for Northern Arizona University. The award honors individuals and institutions that make significant contributions toward improving academic advising.
The son of Tommy and Theresa Newsom, Ph.D., Newsom, 25, has been a full-time employee at NAU since July 2018. Eryn McCoy, president of the Dr. Neil Potter Chapter of The National Residence Hall Honorary, nominated Newsom. The announcement was made during the 2019 IACURH Regional Leadership Conference at NAU, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Newsom was surprised of his selection, he said. “I am unsure as to how many I competed against. In total there are 17 advisors, but I’m not sure how many were nominated,” Newsom said.
In a recognition document, Newsom said being nominated for this award offers an opportunity to serve students, the institution and Flagstaff community in an exemplary fashion.
“While this award nomination may have my name on it, it really encompasses the names of all those before me and the names of our executive board and general body as well,” Newsom said.
Newsom was thrilled to be offered the NRHH advisor position because he believes he can help provide direction and a framework to move forward. It is here Newsom developed his advisory skills and close relationships with NRHH members.
Learning how the NRHH functions within NAU proved challenging for Newsom. Last spring saw a high rate of executive turnover, resulting in distrust between executives and members, membership dissatisfaction and a loss of NRHH identity, the write-up reported.
Newsom worked to increase member satisfaction and help rebuild the executive board. He worked towards reaching out to members to show that NRHH cares about them and to help build its chapter.
During his first 10 months, Newsom worked to rebrand the chapter, challenge current NRHH members to become more active and rebuild the executive board. He also promoted NRHH independence and member individuality. As an advisor, Newsom developed close relationships with members whom he enjoys watching grow as leaders that reflect NRHH values.
Newsom also worked to enhance executive board members in communication, collaboration, recognition and delegation skills. He sought to understand the NRHH chapter history so that he could determine its future goals and in recruiting residents.
Newsom enjoys watching groups work together to create positive experiences and memories. He takes delight in watching the chapter’s passion, commitment and enthusiasm make large and impactful experiences.
Members praised Newsom for his can-do spirit and advisory excellence. In the write-up, spring 2019 NRHH President Allison Leslie said, “There has never been a moment in time where I have doubted his care and dedication to his campus, community and residents.”
National Communications Coordinator Rachell Krell said, “He (Newsom) cares about students more than I could ever put into words. He makes a conscious effort to connect and develop a relationship with everyone. Tommy has redefined my definition of leadership and what it means to put others before yourself.”
Leadership Chair Maelinn Chow added, “Tommy … was the kindest person I met. I could instantly trust him and know I could go to him for anything. Over time, he just kept proving these words to be even more true.”
Newsom said, “I sometimes underestimate the contributions I have made, but to know many individuals saw and valued the work and efforts I’ve done is humbling and fulfilling in terms of wanting to keep doing what I’m doing.”
In 2016, Newsom earned a master’s degree in public administration from Kansas State. Also, he received the Exemplary Service Award for contributions to his department. During his spare time, Newsom enjoys cycling, hiking, podcasting, snowboarding, yoga and hanging with his dog, Milo.