A Unique Course on Leadership at Wilkes
During my freshman year at Georgetown University, I received a tip from a friend. The president of the University, Timothy Healy, would be teaching a freshman poetry class, should I be interested in enrolling in it. Of course, I was interested. I have often shared how that experience changed the course of my academic career, prompting me to major in English Literature and ultimately to pursue a career in higher education administration.
Each spring I think of President Healy. Since becoming president of Wilkes, I’ve considered it one of the privileges of my position to teach a course for undergraduate students in our Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership. The time with students reminds me that the essential work of a university – the heart of the matter – is what happens in the classroom.
This spring finds me once again at the heart of the matter, teaching the President’s Seminar in Leadership. I’m no authority on leadership, so I call on some of Wilkes’ most successful alumni and corporate friends to pass on their wisdom to our students. This course is designed to be very conversational. I begin each discussion by asking our guest a series of questions. They discuss their experiences as leaders, managers, and strategists in a broad range of industries, from child care and insurance to engineering and finance. Students are invited to ask our guests their own questions. The course fosters dialogue, leading to introspection and self-discovery.
This semester my guests will include: Frank Joanlanne, President of Borton-Lawson; Dan Cardell ’79, chairman of the Chicago Quantitative Alliance; Bill Miller ’81, president of Galison/Mudpuppy; Bob Bruggeworth ’83, CEO of Qorvo; Tara Mugford Wilson, CEO of Power Engineering Corporation; Carl Witkowski, COO of Guard Insurance; Bill Grant MBA ’86, founder of Hildebrandt Learning Centers; and Jay Sidhu MBA ‘73, founder and CEO of Customers Bank.
These distinguished individuals have much to share with our students about leadership and success. The alumni bring the unique perspective of discussing how their Wilkes experiences prepared them for the roles they now fill. Interacting with our visitors is proving to be both educational and inspiring for our students. Students will write papers comparing the different leadership styles, reflecting on how their perspectives about leadership have changed as a result of the class. Please watch for an article in the summer issue of Wilkes magazine for highlights from this seminar.
President Healy once wrote: “The old teach, and the young dream, and in this mystery comes a tomorrow that we, who are older, may never know, but will have helped to shape in the minds and hearts of our students.” It is a joy to collaborate with these successful alumni and friends in helping to shape the minds and hearts of our students here at Wilkes.
Patrick. F. Leahy