Cleo Hamilton is first InclusiveU student to become a Remembrance Scholar at Syracuse University

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — This year marks the 31st anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988. The 2019-20 Remembrance Scholars have spent the week honoring the 270 people, including 35 students studying abroad through Syracuse University, who lost their lives in the tragedy.

This year, Cleo Hamilton is making history as the first Remembrance Scholar from InclusiveU. InclusiveU is a School of Education program that brings students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a fully inclusive setting to Syracuse University.

Hamilton is a senior at SU and is one of a kind. If you watch him for just a few moments, you can instantly feel his passion for life and his love for SU.

“I remember my 5th grade year. It was my first time I visited one of their campuses with my classmates and one of the staff asked how many of you want to go to SU and we all raised our hands,” said Hamilton.

A few years later, that dream came true. He graduated from Nottingham High School and became a part of InclusiveU in 2016. Beth Myers, a Lawrence B. Taishoff Professor of Inclusive Education and Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, says Hamilton is one of the program’s top students.

“Cleo is part of everything here. He is one of those students you can find here all hours of the day, attending everything that is offered,” Myers said.

He’s involved in several student organizations and works at the Goodwill. He’s also a leader in Relay For Life, a way to honor his mother who died of breast cancer when he was just eight years old.

Despite the odds, his will to achieve greatness can be seen in everything he does, including applying to become a Remembrance Scholar, one of the highest honors a student can receive.

“Some friends of mine were Remembrance Scholars last year on campus and I heard the application was out and I decided to take advantage of it and fill out the application,” Hamilton said.

He went through a rigorous application and interview process and even though about 170 others applied, there was something about Hamilton that stood out to the selection committee, including his campus involvement, his kindness, and his empathy. He now proudly joins his peers to honor the 35 students who were killed on Pan Am Flight 103, carrying on a legacy, while leaving his mark at Syracuse University.

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