Tripp Perrin was the first graduate of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies to lead the University's alumni as president of the alumni association. This year, when his class is celebrating its 15th Reunion, Perrin is chairing the class gift campaign. He is also making a special appeal to 1995 Jepson graduates to participate in the annual fund. His goal: to achieve 100 percent participation.

How has your connection to UR alumni benefited you?

Serving for several years on the University of Richmond Alumni Association Board of Directors and then last year as President has enabled me to interact with people that I would not have interacted with and stay connected to a large number of alumni worldwide. I???m amazed at all the positive things that are happening on campus every time I visit. I???m proud to be a part of it and appreciative of my education at the University of Richmond. The Jepson School has taught me that I???m on the board to serve. People get very busy, and I know there are days when you don???t feel like doing one more thing. Whenever I feel like this, I think back to my Jepson experience and realize I???m there for a cause.

For you, what was the Jepson program's greatest strength?

The Jepson experience permeates throughout everything that I do. I recently took a personality test that revealed that my greatest strength is communication and strategic thinking. At Jepson we had to work on projects in groups, and this is how the real world works. In whatever you do it???s important to be aware of effective leadership traits. Good communication gives you the ability to motivate people and an ability to think critically and strategically allows you to lead an organization in the right direction by getting people excited about a cause or vision.??

What would you like people to know about the Jepson program?

Servant leadership is one of the things people don???t know about???that???s what makes the University so special. The concept stuck with me after I graduated. The number of hours students volunteer is truly amazing. There aren???t very many people who know great leadership and understand it. Leadership almost sounds too lofty when you???re in the middle of the Jepson program, but when you start working you realize the difference it makes.

How would you describe servant-based leadership?

I would describe it as working for a cause you believe will benefit those generations after you. It means taking a long view. In the Jepson program, the whole notion of servant-based leadership is instilled in you. I have to admit that I don???t think the whole Jepson experience crystallized for me until five or six years after I graduated, when I was able to interact with different people and get different experiences. I have a perspective now on what it means to be a great leader and why it???s important to study leadership.