David Clowney, ’12, a retired wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL), used to leave practice with the New York Jets in Florham Park and drive down the road to the College of Saint Elizabeth. Clowney will be the speaker for CSE’s commencement ceremony on May 11, 2019.
Clowney’s profound respect for education enabled him to pursue a master’s in justice administration at CSE while balancing fatherhood with the rigorous demands of being a professional athlete.
“When my son was first born, he never slept. So, I’d stay up late each night to get all my work done,” recalls Clowney, who is currently the inside receiver coach and pass game coordinator at Howard University in Washington, DC. “I would literally watch game film, pause it, read a chapter of homework while rocking my son’s crib and then go back to the film.”Clowney never minded exchanging sleep for studying because he understood the inherent value of an education.
“Education is the foundation for everything,” says Clowney. “Knowledge can never be taken from you. You can lose your house, your car or your job, but you can never lose your education.”In 2008, just one year after being drafted into the NFL, Clowney further demonstrated his commitment to education by forming The David Clowney Foundation. Instead of reveling in the fame of being a professional football player, Clowney began the nonprofit organization aimed at improving the quality of life for at-risk, underprivileged and economically disadvantaged youth. His organization assists exceptional students by providing opportunities for academic enrichment and financially supporting their educational endeavors.
“I was blessed enough to receive an athletic scholarship to attend college, but not everyone is an athlete,” says Clowney, who was raised in the projects of Delray, Florida. “I personally think it’s unfair that you have to be wealthy or make a decent income just to get an education. I wouldn’t have been able to attend college if my parents had to pay for it.”
For the last decade, The David Clowney Foundation has been working to rectify this educational disparity by distributing scholarships to high school seniors who exude academic excellence and are in pursuit of higher education.
In addition to his impressive career and growing family, Clowney has earned two master’s degrees and plans on obtaining his doctorate. He hopes his personal dedication to learning and ceaseless desire to earn degrees will ultimately inspire others to do the same.”I try to lead by example,” says Clowney. “And I’m able to lead by example because of CSE. The kids I mentor see that I went to college and graduate school and hopefully they will follow in my footsteps.”Learn more about CSE’s criminal justice program here: http://www.cse.edu/criminaljustice.