Over the past two weeks, I have had the privilege of meeting with two of our outstanding student leadership groups on campus: the inaugural class of 41 Leadership Fellows, sponsored by the Lura Tally Center for Leadership Development, and Student Leaders at Methodist (SL@M), sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs. Through my interaction with these young people and so many other student leaders, I am convinced that the future of Methodist University, and indeed our country, is bright.
For the Methodist University community, these students will progress into leadership positions on the campus as upperclassmen, and ultimately be engaged alumni, assuming leadership positions with advisory boards, regional alumni groups, the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the Board of Trustees. For the communities who will be fortunate enough to be the home of our graduates, they will be the beneficiaries of dedicated and caring individuals who possess the skill set to be effective leaders, and the experience in collaborating with others to solve problems and bringing people of all backgrounds together.
Our country was conceived on the principle of citizens “giving back” and being engaged in their communities. It is what makes America strong. It’s what makes individual communities strong. It’s what makes individual universities strong. What a wonderful time to be in our country, in this community, and at Methodist University.
During an informal discussion Debbie and I hosted in our home for the Leadership Fellows, I asked the students to share why they applied to be Fellows. I was moved by their responses that included “I want to improve my leadership skills,” “I want to be a better servant leader,” “I want to enhance my skills in preparation for my profession,” and “I want to be an effective servant leader.”
Methodist University students make this a better community and they are committed to “building better communities” wherever they go. I have the best job in America because of these exceptional young people. Methodist University gets it right because these student leaders are getting it right. No other university in America offers the same opportunities to its students, in part because no other University has the resources and community support at its disposal to offer its students.
Once again, the best is yet to be. The best for Methodist and the best for our country and its many communities is yet to be—all because of MU students and the future they will help shape and lead.
One of the distinguishing features of the Lura Tally Center for Leadership Development, directed by Dr. Andrew Ziegler, is its Advisory Board. This group of outstanding leaders takes the time to share their perspectives for the betterment of our program, and serve as excellent mentors and role models for the next generation of leaders emerging from the Methodist University. We are so grateful for individuals like Charles Broadwell, Loleta Foster, Harry Shaw, George Breece, Terri Union, Mary Kinney, Burt VanderClute, Judge Mary Ann Tally, Cynthia Wilson, and many others who serve on this Board. They exemplify the real benefit of having community partners to strengthen our programs, and at the same time, they serve the community by helping to develop future leaders.