Growing up in the Netherlands, Veerle Verhey, ’17, knew she wanted to go to college in the U.S. She chose University of Richmond for a learning environment unlike any other.

She knew Richmond offered a unique combination of Schools, including the nation’s first undergraduate school of leadership studies.

“I wasn’t sure what leadership studies entailed or what to expect, but it sounded interesting,” says Verhey. “Like nothing any other university offered.”

Now she is “not only learning about what leaders do or what they should be like, I’m learning how to be someone who will give back to society, and that followership is just as important as leadership,” says the leadership studies major. She is also majoring in international studies and pursuing a concentration in international economics with the hopes of eventually working for the United Nations or European Union.  

Veerle was inducted into the Jepson School at Prelude, a formal ceremony held each year that welcomes students who have applied and been accepted. The ceremony was held in the Jepson Alumni Center on Nov. 3.  

This year, the School accepted the largest class in its 22-year history. To keep class sizes small, Jepson has expanded the size of its faculty in recent years and increased the number of certain courses offered.

Professor Joanne Ciulla, Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics and one of Jepson’s founding faculty members, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony. She shared the School’s philosophy with the newest class.

“The purpose of the Jepson School is to educate people for and about leadership,” she said. “Our educational mission begins with a moral ideal. We aim to develop honest, caring and socially responsible leaders who are fair, confident and self-ameliorating.”

To do so requires an interdisciplinary program, she said. “Our curriculum consists of more than just a number of disciplines. The Jepson School serves as a nexus for connecting and integrating the insights of a variety of disciplines into understanding the complex phenomenon of leadership.”   

The class of 2017 includes 99 sophomores and three juniors—many of whom are Bonner Scholars, peer advising mentors, athletes, ROTC cadets, student government representatives, and others who are active in campus life and the life of the city.

Prelude Ceremony 2014