Leadership Seminar Provides Opportunities For BU Arts and Sciences Students

Feb. 20, 2006

by Allison R. Deily, student newswriter

Twenty students from the Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences heard valuable career advice from four merited professionals, as they participated in a recent Baylor Leadership Seminar at the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center on the Baylor campus. The seminar was coordinated and hosted by Elizabeth Vardaman, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The seminar was geared toward liberal arts students who are recognized leaders but do not have plans to pursue graduate degrees immediately following graduation. Students were chosen to participate through their academic qualifications and campus leadership.

The two-day event allowed students the chance to lead discussions and hear lectures on such pertinent topics as interviewing, resumes and what to look for in a job, as well as other career-propelling skills. Students were able to examine and debate such issues as ethics in the workplace and factors to consider when deciding among jobs.

The guest panelists - which included three Baylor graduates who have had considerable success in their careers - shared some of their advice with the student participants.

Panelists included Louis Blair, executive secretary for the Truman Foundation in Washington D.C. Along with his leadership at the Truman Foundation, Blair also has been involved in public service at the national level, and for the last 25 years, he has been a consultant and panelist to major scholarship programs. This was Blair's second year to be involved in the seminar.

Other panel participants were Max Sherman, a 1957 Baylor graduate, professor and Dean Emeritus of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, and former Texas state senator; and Amanda Hutchinson, a Baylor Leadership Seminar participant in 2005 who now works for Goldman Sachs in Dallas. Sherman also served as president of West Texas State University and has been valuable to the leadership of many non-profit organizations.

Jerome Loughridge, a 1995 summa cum laude Baylor graduate who earned his master's in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1998, also assisted in leading the discussions. Loughridge was 1994 Truman Scholar, served as chief of staff to former Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. from 2001-2003, was a 2003-04 White House Fellow, and is now president and CEO of Appian International. The varied panel gave the students a comprehensive range of perspectives and experiences.

Sherman also gave a dinner speech on "Achieving Professional Success: What I Want You to Know," which drew from many of his personal and professional experiences. Students had the opportunity to discuss the speech at its conclusion.

Vardaman was pleased with the participation and outcome of the program.

"Our hope was that students in the College of Arts and Sciences might have been given a glimpse into the reality of the world they are about to enter and into the ways they might present themselves to that world effectively, while not compromising their values," she said.

Ben Maddox, a San Antonio senior, was also excited about his chance to participate in such a program.

"The opportunity to meet and discuss with my colleagues and accomplished alumni was an invaluable experience," Maddox said. "Dean Sherman, Mr. Blair and Mr. Loughridge have a wealth of knowledge, professional experience and a confident demeanor that was obviously well-established. Amanda was also a successful part of the seminar as well. Her insight, being recently graduated, gave a unique perspective to the experience."

The College of Arts and Sciences plans to host a third Baylor Leadership Seminar next spring.

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