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History Spotlight

Colman Elridge: From Private College to Public Servant

“I’m a walking, living, breathing Transylvanian, because everything I do as an adult has been guided by those four years and those experiences.”

Colmon Elridge does not define his life by the tangibles. Success is more than a job title, college degree, or articles that sing his praises. To Elridge, success is measured by the lives he can impact and futures he can mold. Elridge has devoted the past decade to public service on the state and national political stage. In both arenas, Elridge has cemented himself as a rising leader and champion of causes.

As executive vice president of Young Democrats of America, the largest partisan youth organization in the country, Elridge is responsible for issuing advocacy campaigns, facilitating relationships with Congress and the White House, and implementing strategy. He has been involved in recent efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and reform immigration.

Elridge, in his fourth year as Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's executive assistant, recalls his most rewarding experience. "The Governor said, 'We need to make sure we're reaching every child eligible for health insurance,' then he turned to me and said, 'That's your first assignment.'" Elridge didn't waste any time. He brought agencies together and helped find coverage for about 15,000 kids across the state.

Elridge has not forgotten the importance of his Transylvania experience. "I got the attention you don't necessarily get on a bigger campus," he said. "Transylvania is notoriously a hard school; it challenges you academically, and if you are paying attention, it challenges you personally."

He is determined to show his gratitude for this experience in his actions. "If they were going to invest all that time in me, I was going to turn around and utilize that going forward," he says.

Elridge plans to remain in public service. "It has been a tremendous platform," he says. "The question then becomes what to do with it. I really hope that I'm somehow able to have a voice in shaping the future of what we do here."

No matter how unplanned or unpredictable the future may be, the history of Colman Elridge points to a certainty: he will impact the lives of others. Elridge will be remolded by experience, and in turn, will pay it forward and remold the future.

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