It is 4:30 p.m. on a Monday during the spring semester at the Centennial Center for Leadership (CCL). Downstairs in the seminar classroom, Hobart and William Smith students in the HWS Leads certificate program are finishing up a session in their Leadership Theory I class. Outside in the front entry room, students on the CCL advisory board gather and wait for their meeting to start. Soon, student finalists in this year’s The Pitch contest will arrive for their pitch practice session with the CCL staff. Upstairs, a student preps for her interview with a Leadership Café guest. It is a typically busy day at 603 South Main Street.
Since opening its doors in 2008, the CCL continues to be a rapidly growing office at the Colleges. Early initiators anticipated the office to offer opportunities designed to foster leadership within HWS students and the surrounding community. Since that time, the CCL has evolved into a dual center with a compelling future.
“First, the Centennial Center provides leadership development for student leaders,” says Susan Pliner, associate dean of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and director of the Centennial Center for Leadership. “Second, it engages in the study of leaders and leadership.”
Grown out of the interests of HWS students, the CCL continues to expand its focus into entrepreneurial leadership, community leadership and global leadership with strong support and intentional progress. Pliner says these specialty areas will guide the CCL’s work as they remain steadfast that today’s leaders must be capable of innovative problem-solving in local and global communities.
“It’s been a wonderful year,” reflects Pliner. “We welcomed 43 new students into our HWS Leads certificate program. We worked with more than 85 HWS and Geneva High School students at January’s Leadership Institute. We provided leadership development for more than 30 second graders from Geneva’s West Street School within the Youth Leadership College program. We named another The Pitch winner. We funded our first global leadership fellow.”
As the center looks back over the year, they thank their generous donors, supporters, colleagues and friends who have helped CCL meet their 2013-2014 goals and look forward to a successful 2014-2015.