By SUZANNA TOSKE
On Aug. 26, President Rick Hurley announced a new leadership project that focuses on the support and development of student leaders within the academic community funded by a $25,000 contribution from the AT&T Foundation, according to a university press release.
The purpose of the new program, called the Student Leadership Colloquium, is to expose University of Mary Washington students to leadership and social responsibility.
“The UMW student leadership initiative is designed to engage students in dialogue and learning to support personal development and positive leadership interaction,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Douglas Searcy. “Employers are especially interested in hiring well-rounded, new employees who are versed in their discipline and have leadership and communication skills to engage the work environment.”
This will improve students’ critical thinking skills and their understanding of the university’s Honor Code, according to a press release.
First-year students, students at-risk of completing their degree, and students who are in under-represented populations are especially targeted for the new project so they can have the advantage to succeed in life, according to Searcy.
“The AT&T educational grant process supports programs and services… to ensure and encourage these students to seek and achieve success,” Searcy said. “UMW’s strategic emphasis on diversity matches this philosophy.”
J. Michael Schweder, the president of AT&T Mid Atlantic, said, “The Student Leadership Colloquium will help UMW prepare the next generation of community, business and civic leaders for success, and we’re thrilled to support their efforts.”
The University of Mary Washington will try to take on at least 50 percent of the under-represented student population in the entering class of 2011, according to a UMW press release.
Schweder and William Howell, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, accompanied President Hurley during the ceremony at which the project was announced. UMW students also attended the Student Leadership Colloquium presentation ceremony, according to a press release.
Senior Ashley Nixon, the SGA President, attended the morning ceremony and likes the idea of the university’s direction in focusing on service and leadership.
“These are conscious life choices that the university is trying to foster through this project and the development of the offices of Leadership and Community Service,” Nixon said. “I think it is just another sign that UMW is trying to prepare us to be the best assets to our community we can be.”