Growing up in Franklin, Clayton Black got involved in the political scene at a young age. He was a founding member of the mayor’s youth council in 2016 and interned with the mayor’s office his senior year in high school. It was there he was asked to run for a seat on Franklin’s City Council.
“[Mayor Joe McGuinness] had offered it to me but I was 18 about to turn 19, also about to graduate from high school and would like to get a little college under my belt first. I knew that the next city elections would be held in 2023, which was the same year as I would graduate from Franklin College,” Black said. “So, I kept it on the back burner and when it finally came time to file paperwork with the Johnson County Election Board I was like, ‘Let’s do it, let’s see what happens.’”
Born and raised in Franklin, attending Franklin College and advocating for the town seemed like natural steps for Black. No longer was he just a townie, or only a college kid; Black was both.
“When I came here it was definitely like a little bubble in the middle of Franklin but at the same time, I was able to see the city from a new light, from a perspective of a college student,” Black, a political science and history double major, said. “I learned to appreciate my community even more, especially as I learned the history of the college and its role in the local community, that it has a much larger role in the community than I initially thought.”
Black has been involved in Franklin College’s community on all fronts — both some to help boost his career and to have fun while in school. Black was involved in Moot court, Model UN, and FC Across the Isle all within his first couple years. He was also president of the Interfraternity Council, which later led to him being president of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. Currently, Black is running for Franklin City Council and working a full-time internship at the Statehouse. His secret to his success: time management.
“I guess to put it in simple terms, I love Franklin and I am willing to spend a lot of my time and effort here for a very long time,” Black said. “It is just a matter of how you manage time and I think if you are involved in things you really love you will manage time well to find a way to do it.”
Black is set to graduate May 2023 but that does not mean he intends to be done exploring opportunities. A fellowship with the governor’s office is the next step for Black, eventually followed by law school.
“I would say if there were two fields that I would like to commit my life to after Franklin it would be public service and the law. I want to go to law school. I think everyone kind of needs a break after a bachelor’s degree, so I am taking a break from school for a year,” Black said. “As far as right after graduation, starting in July, I will be working in the governor’s office at the Statehouse as a Governor’s Fellow. It is a very interesting program and a highly selective program.”
While Black has been the hands that have accomplished his success, he knows he could not have done it without the help of Franklin or the opportunities he received here. Black realizes that the liberal arts education is a more common desire by employers than in the past.
“I would definitely say, I deeply appreciate a liberal arts education because they will have you take classes that you otherwise wouldn’t, which obviously helps you become a more well-rounded individual and employee,” Black said. “That is something that employers are increasingly looking at. They want to recruit folks who are well-rounded.”
To most, Black’s college career would be considered successful. He has experienced multiple opportunities that have shaped his future career path, getting involved both on and off campus. He has left his mark on both the school and the town.
“The overall theme is to get involved. Make memories, have fun; that is what college is all about,” Black said. “It is obviously about getting an education and preparing yourself for the workforce, but it is also meant to teach your life lessons.”