Traditions are part of campus life at the University of Richmond. From Westhampton College’s Proclamation Night to Richmond College’s Investiture Ceremony, students understand and embrace tradition and the act of pledging to commit themselves fully.
The same is true for students who choose to pursue a degree in leadership studies.
Each year students accepted into the University’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies attend Prelude, the ceremony by which students are formally inducted into the program and officially begin to pursue questions of what it means to be a leader, act ethically, and manage change.
At Prelude 2010, held on Nov. 9, Dean Sandra J. Peart welcomed 76 new students from the class of 2013 into the program. “You come from a variety of geographic and academic places,” Peart said. “You are not easily pigeonholed. And you tend to be students who want to change the world, which is part of why you have been admitted to the Jepson School.”
Dean Peart, keynote speaker Dr. Joshua Walker, ’03, and student speakers encouraged the new class to take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded to them, get to know their professors, and engage the city of Richmond.
Walker, the school’s first alumnus to return as a professor, told students he was there to “offer some small sense of what can be possible” with a degree in leadership studies. Walker shared his experiences after graduating, which include spending a year as a Fulbright scholar and teaching assistant in Turkey, working for the State Department, earning a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University and a doctoral degree in politics and public policy from Princeton University, and working as research fellow at Harvard University. He will join the Jepson School next academic year as a full-time assistant professor and teach courses in international and cross-cultural leadership studies.
“It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago to the day I was sitting in the exact same spot you are,” Walker told students. “It’s exciting for me to be able to stand before you as the first professor to come back to Jepson. And I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that I’ve never had a better education than here.”
Students Lucas Hakkenberg, ’12, Ashley Miles, ’11, and Alex Cramer, ’10, also welcomed students into the program and encouraged them to make the most of their academic career.
“Become passionate about something and really work toward it,” Miles said. “The world needs you and the country needs you.”