In spite of the ongoing pandemic and our inability to host lectures, talks and symposia, the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest, in conjunction with the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement, held seven virtual talks for the greater community this spring. Our alumni registered in droves for the Zoom talks! We averaged 75-80 participants for each session and are excited to have engaged with so many alumni, parents, and friends. We plan to provide a streaming option for our in-person talks this fall.
We began the semester with a fireside conversation with Dr. John Hillen, Wheat Professor of Leadership, and a panel of Wilson Center Faculty Fellows. Dr. Jennifer Vitale, Dr. Viktoria Basham, and Dr. Hillen, both Wilson Center Faculty Fellows, discussed the need to teach leadership across time, discipline, and culture. As fellows, they each restructured a course to include leadership theory offered to freshmen in the Wilson Leadership Fellows program. Both Fellows also help connect the academic and co-curricular offerings at the Wilson Center to faculty across multiple disciplines on campus. Dr. Hillen followed up this talk with a presentation later in the semester entitled, “The Quest for Trust: Institutional Leadership and the Rebuilding of Confidence in American Institutions”.
In collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Wilson Center hosted a talk with Sekou Kaalund ’97 to celebrate Black History Month. Kaalund currently serves as head of Consumer Banking for the Northeast Division at Chase. He previously led the Advancing Black Pathways Initiative at Chase-a $30 billion effort to combine the company’s business and philanthropic resources to focus on helping people of color realize their dreams through home ownership, increased savings and investments, entrepreneurial endeavors, and access to well-paying career paths.
Postponed by the ice storm, we held President’s Day 2021 in March. Noted historian at the University of Texas, Dr. H. W. Brands, gave an informative talk about the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.
Adam Christensen ’16 spoke about his exciting run as the Democratic nominee for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District.
In late March, we held a panel discussion on leadership in K-12 education. Our panelists were alumni who currently lead independent and public schools. Special thank you to the Rev. Dr. Anthony Sgro ’88, Asheville School, Timothy Beatty ‘97, Heritage HS in Lynchburg, and Harrison Stuart ’02, Episcopal School of Nashville, for their participation.
Dr. Colin Woodward led our final talk of the semester. Dr. Woodward began working at Hampden-Sydney in 2019 as the Archivist for the LTG Samuel V. Wilson Collection. Dr. Woodward spent the past two years organizing, cataloging, and digitizing the boxes of personal items donated to Hampden-Sydney College by General Wilson’s family. More about this special and meaningful collection appears later in the newsletter.