Sixty-eight outstanding young men started their journeys as Wilson Fellows on Monday, August 17th. These fellows were student body presidents, Eagle Scouts, Boys State participants, decorated athletes and scholars. More importantly, they are earnest, hard-working, and decent young men. We are very excited to work with them.
During their pre-term Martin Leadership Program workshop, fellows heard from Dr. James Pontuso and Dr. Gene Hickok, hiked the Wilson trail, engaged in case studies, had fun on our ropes course, and built a sense of community. Since the start of classes, fellows have learned about leadership from President Stimpert; learned lessons from the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, in a discussion with Wheat Professor John Hillen; and engaged in workshops with the American Shakespeare Center. Later this semester they will take the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator and learn about emotional intelligence in hopes that each fellow will become more self-aware and prepared to be part of successful teams.
Each fellow is paired with a leadership advisor who will work with the young man for four years, helping him connect his classroom work to his co-curricular pursuits so that he may get the most out of his time on the Hill. All fellows are placed into a foundational leadership class designed specifically for Wilson Fellows. Class topics include leadership in antiquity; interfaith leadership; modern American leaders; U.S. military and national security; leadership and personality; and labor camps, crime, and leadership in the Soviet Union.
Our fellows are eager to become the very best versions of themselves. It is a calling to work with these “men of character” who will lead “lives of consequence.” Foundational program goals include ethical decision-making, civil discourse, leadership in diverse contexts, and active citizenship.
The Martin Leadership Program is year one of the four-year Wilson Leadership Fellows program, named in honor of David Martin ’52. A smart, creative, and successful advertising executive, David was a consummate Hampden-Sydney man and it is fitting that the program is named in his memory. His wife, Louise Martin, remains active with the program and the Wilson Center. She currently serves on the Wilson Center Board of Advisors.