|Washington, D.C. — Student Veterans of America (SVA) ended the 2017 Leadership Institute on October 22, 2017, successfully graduating a class of 93 student veterans and empowering them to be the leaders of tomorrow. Identified as the highest-performing student veterans in higher education, the Class of 2017 traveled to the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, TX to receive nearly fifteen hours of intensive classroom training from business and industry leaders.
This premier training for emerging leaders in post-secondary education focused on teaching a personal leadership ethos and how to apply it. Upon graduating, the Class of 2017 had a significantly increased understanding of how their personal values directly supported and reinforced their leadership philosophy. Graduates defined their personal leadership vision and developed an action plan to implement said vision in chapters, colleges, and communities across America.
President George W. Bush (centered front row) pictured with the Leadership Institute Class of 2017, mentors, and staff.
The 2017 Leadership Institute was hosted by the George W. Bush Presidential Center providing both a venue and opportunity unmatched in America. President Bush spent time with the cohort speaking to and answering questions about leadership in a time of crisis and leaders he admires, "A true leader is someone who is optimistic and tries to figure out how to achieve a common objective that is good for everyone," President Bush said. "Great leaders weigh our national interest with our moral interest. In my administration, we sent aid to the AIDS pandemic in North Africa saving 11 million people," he offered as an example. "Every veteran should return to civilian life with the confidence that he or she has the ability and skills to be a great leader. You are a leader. Do not let anyone tell you that you're not," President Bush said in closing.
2017 Leadership Institute mentors pictured from left to right: Barrett Y. Bogue, Sloan D. Gibson, Tom Allin, William Hubbard, Carrie Laureno, Robert A. McDonald, Jared S. Lyon, and James Schmeling
The Class of 2017 were taught by business and industry leaders with significant private, public, and non-profit experience. Serving as mentors, these eight individuals taught student veterans the importance of leadership, branding, and more. Such visionaries included Robert A. McDonald, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) and CEO of Proctor and Gamble, Sloan D. Gibson, former Deputy Secretary of VA and CEO of the USO, Tom Allin, former Chief Experience Officer at VA and CEO of McDonald's Europe, and Carrie Laureno,
Director of Veterans and Disabilities Initiatives at Apple, Inc.
Travel, lodging, and meals were covered for all attendees thanks to the generous support by Prudential. The Class of 2017, listed below by name and school, are destined to lead America in the 21st century. The Leadership Institute is inspired by SVA's mission to support student veterans to, through, and beyond higher education.