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SCCF/OCE Community Development Director Accepts New Position

As of January 1, 2021, Nicky Hamilton will take on the position of assistant vice president, government & strategic partnerships, as a member of the University of the South’s economic development and community relations efforts.


In this new role, Hamilton will be responsible for partnering with public and private organizations to form collaborations and partnerships that advance the University’s agenda concerning responsible economic development of the Domain, and sustained, productive community relations with local, city, and state governments. Hamilton will also be a resource to collaborate across departments and help develop innovative partnerships supporting student success and other institutional priorities.


Known for her many contributions to the University of the South, Hamilton has served in various roles during her 16-year career in higher education. At Sewanee she has held the positions of assistant director of admissions and director of residential life, and co-created the University’s Intergroup Dialogue Course and 213-A Leaders Program. Currently Hamilton serves as director of community development in a joint position for the University’s Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) and South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF), the latter of which is the first philanthropic organization to serve the South Cumberland Plateau. Hamilton has had a significant impact on advancing the missions of OCE and SCCF, including building one of the largest, award-winning AmeriCorps VISTA programs in the state of Tennessee; establishing the USDA Summer Meal Program in collaboration with the University’s McClurg Dining Hall; and creating the Philanthropy Internship Program which invests $30,000 through a student-led grant-making process. Together with SCCF’s grants and community development programs nearly $200,000 is invested annually in community initiatives led by nonprofits and public agencies. Hamilton also directs SCCF’s grants process, and, most recently, engaged the Plateau community in conversations about future priorities for the region.


In response to this change, Jim Peterman, director of the Office of Civic Engagement, said, “In her work as director of community development, Nicky helped move forward the University’s innovative partnership with SCCF, and through that supported nonprofits and government entities throughout the South Cumberland Plateau. We look forward to working with Nicky in her new role, which will enhance and grow the University’s focus on community relations with local, city, and state government entities.”


"For the past six years Nicky has held a unique role as liaison between the University's Office of Civic Engagement and South Cumberland Community Fund," said SCCF Chair, Sheri Lawrence. "We are deeply grateful for her service, as the knowledge and experience that she has brought to her role as community development director has allowed both organizations to successfully collaborate with numerous nonprofits and community organizations across the Plateau."


Hamilton graduated from Sewanee in 1999 as a Desmond Tutu Scholar with a degree in psychology, and in 2012 earned a Master of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Her work there included a collaboration with the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in South Africa, the establishment of an educational nonprofit, and work in fundraising.


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