As a high school student in Belgrade, Serbia, Djole Hinic, ’13, already had a passion for global travel and a desire to learn in different cultures. During his sophomore year, he received a scholarship to attend the United World College in Mostar, a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He knew then that he was on the right path.

It was there that he cultivated a desire to learn more about the philosophy and history of leadership.

“Leadership became my passion,” he says.

When it came time to pursue an undergraduate degree, there was really only one place in the world on his radar screen.

“I went to a presentation about the University of Richmond and found out about the Jepson School of Leadership Studies,” he says. “I knew immediately that was where I wanted to go.”

A Davis United World Colleges Scholarship made it possible for him to attend.

“I wanted to study something that wasn’t about getting as rich as possible,” he says. “In leadership positions as a student I found that trying to work with people to make social change was the most valuable thing one could bring to the world.”

A Jepson Summer Research Grant gave him an opportunity to research the challenges faced by Serbian youth in the aftermath of the revolution of 2000. “Serbia was in transition from a communist regime then,” he says. “I wanted to go back to look at how the youth perceived the political, social and economic issues and the challenges it presented for them.”

He asked leadership studies professor Joanne Ciulla to be his mentor and eventually presented his research to faculty and students, a valuable exercise since he eventually wants to teach at the college level, he says.   

Two internships gave him an opportunity to get a closer look at leadership in practice. One was with former Virginia governor Tim Kaine, then the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a Senate hopeful. The other was with United World College in Mostar.

He landed the internship with Kaine’s campaign in January of his junior year. That spring he signed up for a class Kaine was teaching at the Jepson School. The internship was among his most memorable experiences, he says.

“A lot of the things I did at Richmond I’ll never forget as I continue my journey. I’ll spend the majority of my life applying the things I learned in Jepson and at the University of Richmond,” he says. “The Jepson School gave depth to my understanding of the world.”