The School of Leadership Studies' History
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Center of Leadership Excellence in 2004.
The Leadership Studies Certificate Program at Western Kentucky University was launched in the spring of 2003. A few students signed up for the Program which was found in a borrowed office in the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center. Three students completed the program that first semester, but news of the program spread and more students joined the program that fall.
The first Leadership Banquet was held in November of 2003, in conjunction with the Student Affairs week-long celebration of student leadership. Students from across the campus were invited to attend. This annual banquet now honors students nominated by their various department heads, deans, coaches, sponsors and professors as the outstanding student leaders in those areas.
Dr. Cecile Garmon was named Interim Director on a part-time basis while continuing her graduate faculty duties in the Communication Department. After serving as an office associate for several different WKU departments, Mrs. Linda Brumit joined as the first full-time employee. In 2005, Cindy Ehresman brought her extensive business and industry experience to the Center in the role of Program Coordinator. John Baker became the next addition to the staff when he retired as WKU's Professor of Military Science in 2006 and became the Education Coordinator for the Leadership Studies department. Over the ensuing years, Leadership Studies has also received support from outstanding student workers and graduate assistants.
In 2008 Dr. Nevil Speer brought an existing master's degree program to the CLE and it became the Master of Arts in Leadership Dynamics. In 2010 the Center inaugurated the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership so that now WKU offers programs at all levels in the study of leadership.
From 2004 until 2011, Leadership Studies occupied the ground floor of Cravens Library as the Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE). A Steering Committee composed of faculty and staff from across WKU has served as overseers of the program until it was moved into the University College in 2008. Currently, the CLE is located with other University College units in Tate Page Hall 220.
In 2012, the Board of Regents approved the Leadership Studies Program's request to have its name changed to the School of Leadership Studies. Along with the change of name also came the approval of a new Minor in Leadership Studies. Students were first able to sign up for the minor in the fall semester of 2012.
The future continues to look bright as the road is being laid for success here in the School of Leadership Studies!
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