Stephon McLeon has faced many obstacles and life challenges to get to where he is today. The junior sociology major from Trenton, N.J. was a student at Shaw University before he transferred to Saint Augustine’s University. He was forced to withdraw from Shaw in 2009.
In 2011, McLeon became a single father to a baby girl. That proved to be a turning point.
“Once I found out I was having a daughter, it was kind of my wakeup call, in a sense,” McLeon said. “I’m not just living for myself now, I have to get a job and get an apartment in order to take care of my daughter myself.” He did not have a father growing up, so he decided to take full custody of his daughter and be the father figure in her life.
By 2013, McLeon decided that he would go back to school and accomplish what he needed to in order to set an example for his daughter. “I want my daughter to know how a real man is supposed to be successful, how a real man is supposed to carry himself, and how a real man is supposed to treat her with respect,” he said.
Today, McLeon is the vice president of the SGA (Student Government Association) at Saint Augustine’s University and he is also the President of Saint Augustine’s University chapter of Collegiate 100, an auxiliary organization of 100 Black Men of America, an organization devoted to nurturing and enhancing the growth and development of young African-American males. The collegiate version is open to both men and women.
McLeon was elected as vice president of the SGA in elections held Sept. 10. His role in that job is to be an advocate for the students on campus, making sure they have the necessary tools they need in order to be successful, and giving them the best college experience that they could have.
As president of Collegiate 100, his goal is to mentor younger men and the younger generation in the surrounding the community.
He feels that his experiences have helped prepare him to help others. “I come from a neighborhood like this,” McLeon said, “so I know how it may feel or how to easily get discouraged by things. Growing up, I did not have that person to talk to about my problems, so now I want to be that person to help guide younger men in the right direction.”
— Adonica Stewart