It was fitting that Jepson School Professor Emerita Gill Robinson Hickman was surrounded by Jepson faculty and alumni to celebrate receiving the Leadership Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Leadership Association (ILA). One of the School’s inaugural faculty members, Hickman played a major role in shaping the Jepson School, the first school of leadership studies in the country, into what it is today.
The ILA honored Hickman with the lifetime achievement award during its 2016 global conference in Atlanta, Ga. The award is presented annually to scholars and practitioners who have made “significant and diverse contributions to the field of leadership.”
“I am truly humbled by the ILA Leadership Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award,” Hickman said.
In describing Hickman’s career during the conference’s opening plenary, ILA President and CEO Cynthia Cherrey pointed to a “compelling common purpose” at the heart of both Hickman’s career at the Jepson School and her personal experience growing up in Alabama during the American Civil Rights Movement.
“The Jepson School intuitively appealed to the kind of leadership I witnessed as a young person in the civil rights movement, and it is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the power of collective or shared leadership to make a difference in organizations and society,” Hickman remembered.
At the Jepson School, Hickman designed and taught classes on leadership in organizations and leading change and also wrote and edited textbooks on the same topics.
Hickman’s research has spanned a variety of areas including organizational leadership, socially active businesses, invisible leadership, and leadership during personal crisis. She has worked on projects for regional governments in South Africa at the University of the Western Cape and taught at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. She received the University of Richmond’s Distinguished Educator Award in 2004.
Standing alongside Hickman during the ceremony, Jepson School Dean Sandra J. Peart presented Hickman with an engraved silver platter.
“Gill has been a tireless advocate for the Jepson School, its students, and its faculty,” said Peart. “Her teaching and her scholarship reinforce our conviction that we not only teach about leadership but also prepare students for leadership.”
That evening, the Jepson School held an alumni event at Ray’s in the City, and the Jepson Alumni Corps presented Hickman with a memory book of notes from faculty and alumni thanking Hickman for her substantial impact on both the School and their lives.