On the first night of the Hatton W. Sumners Student Leadership Conference in Austin, Tx., Arthur Tartee, ’17, felt a tap on his shoulder. When he turned around, the person he saw left him “shell-shocked.” Astronaut and 2008–09 Jepson School Leader-in-Residence Leland Melvin, ’86, stopped the two Jepson School students attending the conference to ask if they would take a selfie with him.Arthur Tartee, '17, with Jordan Chavez, '16, and astronaut Leland Melvin, '86

Melvin was the opening guest speaker at the student leadership conference that Tartee, along with Jordan Chavez, ’16, attended in February. For Tartee, meeting and listening to Melvin was the most impactful part of the conference.

“I knew he went here and was a football player and he became an astronaut, but I didn’t know all his story and how he had a lot of setbacks but didn’t let that hold him down, didn’t let that determine his future,” explains Tartee. “Hearing him talk was inspiring.”

The conference, which hosted students from around the United States and Mexico featured presentations on leadership by influential figures, including Dr. Howard Prince, the first dean of the Jepson School.

“It was life-changing,” Tartee remembers.

Tartee’s interest in learning about how ethics and integrity affect leadership is not recent. The Jepson School’s focus on ethics was partially responsible for Tartee’s decision to attend to the University of Richmond. At the University, Tartee paired a leadership studies major with a second major in international relations in order to study the leaders of a chaotic, global world, and he plans to pursue graduate school after college.

“It’s [the Jepson School] making me a strong contributor to grad school or whatever organization I’m going to be part of,” says Tartee. “Just staying true to myself and what I have learned here and applying that to wherever I may go in life.”

Over the summer, Tartee will be completing his Jepson internship, which he hopes will help him further define his goals for his senior year and life after college. He is also looking forward to taking Leadership Ethics in the fall of his senior year to further build upon his interest.

“I hear a lot of seniors like, ‘Yeah, that’s the cornerstone of Jepson,’” says Tartee. “Everything I’ve been learning for the past three years has built me up for this.”

Tartee especially notes the roles of the Jepson faculty and staff in creating a thought-provoking environment, saying, “I just love the faculty here and the relationship that we have, not just in class but outside of class. Like we can walk into any one office and just have a random conversation with them that may end up leading up to what you discuss in class.”

“It’s like even the people in the office know my name,” Tartee laughs. “The University is a tight-knit community, but like, Jepson is a family.”