Leadership takes many forms: Some lead through their ability to create and sustain a vision. Others use their gift of rhetoric to inspire and galvanize followers. Some implement strategies to reform entrenched systems and promote new ways of doing things. Still others lead by leveraging their financial resources to support worthy institutions and causes.

Today I would like to thank the many alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the Jepson School who exercised this last form of leadership—namely, stewardship. During UR Here Giving Day on May 27-28, 97 donors gave a total of $50,576 to the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, more than five times what the School raised during last year’s inaugural UR Here Giving Day. Our total includes the $10,000 and $2,000 matching gifts given by two altruistic alumnae.

I am humbled and overcome with gratitude for all those who gave, especially in these challenging economic times.

Like many other segments of the economy, higher education is taking a significant financial hit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Richmond, and by extension, the Jepson School, have not been immune. Your gifts will help the University and the School mitigate some of these financial challenges.

Even more, the generosity of our Jepson family underscores the unflinching faith and commitment you have in our ability to educate future leaders. You understand why our mission to educate students about leadership as it was, as it is, and as it should be matters now more than ever. You also understand that it takes resources—both financial and human—to provide the outstanding education that is the hallmark of the School. Quite simply, you get it.

I recognize and appreciate that many in our Jepson family were not in a position to give this year. All of us have experienced times when we could give more than other times and times when we couldn’t give at all. We do what we can, when we can. Together, we have demonstrated our ability to continue to support, in good times and bad, a School whose core mission is to educate ethical, effective, transformative leaders, such as:

  • Future human rights leaders like Lina Tori Jan, ’20, an Afghan refugee who attended Richmond on scholarship and, through the Jepson Scholars Program, will enroll in a public policy master’s program at the University of Oxford in the fall;
  • Future political leaders like Dan Mahoney, ’20, recipient of the University’s Mace Award for outstanding student for his efforts to promote mental health and sexual misconduct awareness on campus;
  • Future social justice leaders like Eliana Fleischer, ’20, recipient of the James MacGregor Burns Award (the School’s highest honor) and the Fredric M. Jablin Undergraduate Research Award, whose senior thesis on police shootings of unarmed black men has spurred her to pursue a career in criminal justice reform.

Your investment in our students is an investment in our collective future. It is a mark of your leadership. Thank you for giving to Jepson.

Stewardship as leadership

Sandra J. Peart

Dr. Peart is Dean of the School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. She is an economist with special interests in leadership and economics and leadership ethics. More about her: Go to jepson.richmond.edu and see faculty information.

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