An Eagle Scout from New Mexico, Clark Hager says he’s “grateful to live in a place where, on any given weekend, I can be hiking and camping in the wilderness.” 

He may live in the Southwest, but he is no stranger to Washington, D.C. Hager lived for several of his early years in Arlington, Va. Growing up with a dad who serves in the Air Force, he is used to moving around, including a few years living in Hawaii. 

While in high school, he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go to college. So while visiting a few friends in the D.C. metro area, he toured several of the schools in the District. Catholic University stood out. 

“I wasn’t expecting such a large, beautiful campus in a major city,” says Hager. While on his campus tour, he also discovered the construction site of the new nursing and sciences building. As a pre-med biology major, he says he can’t wait to study in the new building. 

Meeting the football coach and a few players also put Catholic University at the top of his list. “It was clear to me that there is a strong camaraderie on the team and that academics are a priority,” says Hager, who will be on the defensive line for the Cardinals. His other high school sports included wrestling and track.

The University’s faith-based mission was another draw. “Service is something I was taught to value as an Eagle Scout, as part of a military family, and through my high school. I want to continue that in college, especially with my teammates.”

As a student-athlete, Hager says being in high school during the pandemic was rough. “So much of my time was structured around sports. Being home with just school work was a hard adjustment. I missed the practices and competitions and my teammates,” he says. His solution was to find a job — that ultimately became a hobby. “My friend’s dad owns a car restoration shop and he gave me a job. I helped build a motor for a ’92 Chevy S10 truck, and we just did a paint job on a ’71 Chevelle SS. It was an amazing shade of blue.”

Hager now says he can see the silver lining to the pandemic. “I think it was the first time I realized that things don’t last forever. It makes me appreciate what I have now.”