Pitt to Launch Hesselbein Global Leadership Academy

Issue Date: 
March 16, 2009
Frances HesselbeinFrances Hesselbein

The University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with Pitt alumnus Frances Hesselbein, is launching the Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. Named for Hesselbein—recipient of the 1998 Presidential Medal of Freedom and chair of the board of governors of the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management)—the academy has as its mission inspiring, developing, and rewarding accomplished student leaders to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

“No one has done more to advance effective approaches to leadership than University of Pittsburgh alumnus Frances Hesselbein,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “Among her many honors, Mrs. Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of her exemplary leadership as chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA. She also was a member of the first class of University Legacy Laureates, a group of distinguished Pitt alumni who—with exceptional creativity, commitment, and intellectual energy—have reached the highest levels of their professions. Mrs. Hesselbein has shared her leadership expertise with corporations, the military, and CEOs across the globe, and now, through this new leadership academy, formally joins forces with Pitt in developing the leaders of tomorrow.”

“We are extremely excited to launch a program that recognizes and advances the work of exceptional student leaders from around the world,” said Kathy Humphrey, Pitt vice provost and dean of students. “Frances is clearly one of the outstanding leaders of our time, and we are delighted that she is so engaged in the academy.”

The academy is under the direction of Humphrey and Angela Miller McGraw, Hesselbein Academy program manager at Pitt. An inaugural Student Leadership Summit will be held at the University this summer from July 10 to 14; it will be open to 50 top college student leaders from across the United States. Subsequent summits, to be held annually, will be open to college students worldwide.

The annual summits will provide participants the opportunity to learn how to be effective, ethical, and innovative leaders. Through mentoring communities, international experts will share their insights and knowledge with students, training them so that they leave the academy with the skills and experiences necessary to excel in various leadership capacities.

“I’ve been involved in leadership development for a long time, and if I were a young person, I would be so excited about the opportunity to come to this academy because I would have the chance to engage with some of the top leaders and be part of building a community,” said Hesselbein, one of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development. “Instead of reading about great leaders, I’d be engaging with them.”

Hesselbein served as chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 1976 to 1990 and was founding president and chief executive officer of Leader to Leader from 1990 to 2000. A native of Johnstown, Pa., Hesselbein is a board member for several nonprofit and private-sector corporate boards.

She serves as editor-in-chief of the award-winning quarterly journal Leader to Leader and has written for or served as an editor of numerous articles and books on effective leadership, including the best-seller The Leader of the Future (Jossey-Bass, 1996), which has been translated into 16 languages. Her latest book, Hesselbein on Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2002), is an exposition of her thoughts on living out her philosophy that “leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do.”

In addition to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 1998, Hesselbein also has been awarded the Legion of Honor Gold Medallion from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains, Pitt’s Distinguished Alumni Fellows Award, and an International ATHENA Award. She has received 20 honorary doctoral degrees and has served as a commencement speaker at numerous colleges and universities.

The academy also will offer four Hesselbein Global Leaders Externships beginning in summer 2010. Graduating seniors from around the world whose dedication to their campuses and communities embodies the essence of leadership are eligible. Fellows will complete a yearlong externship under the direction of prominent international leaders in countries that are different from their native ones.

Applications for the Student Leadership Summit and Global Leaders Externship are available at www.hesselbein.pitt.edu. For more information about the Hesselbein Academy, contact Miller McGraw at angelamm@pitt.edu or 412-624-5203.