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HESS Center

The Hess Center for Leadership and Service


Leadership is everywhere: in religious institutions, in classrooms, in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, in athletic teams, and in poetry societies. At the same time, leadership is absent: people with authority fail us, politicians fail to take action, and those with power corrupt and accept corruption. Too often, groups fail to achieve what they set out to achieve, or they dogmatically adhere to the status quo when the situation requires agility and change.

  • What is to be done with leadership challenges? How should you respond? What actions might you take?
  • How can you develop your own and others' capacities for leadership so that your community anticipates its needs rather than merely reacts?
  • How can you learn to think critically about leadership and change so that you become effective at solving the problems facing the communities that matter to you?

Hess Center Mission

The programs of The Hess Center for Leadership and Service seek to answer such questions about leadership, change, and the capacity to learn. Our flagship programs include the Academic Distinction in Leadership Studies, Hess Fellows Advocacy Internships, and the First-Year Leadership Challenge. In addition, we support a student-run publication, sponsor a lecture series that showcases practicing leaders (the Leadership Matters Speakers series), and coordinate opportunities for faculty and staff to study leadership..

In support of the college's overall mission to challenge students to "engage their community and the greater world," the Hess Center for Leadership and Service encourages individuals to realize their full leadership potential so that they can contribute to the communities that matter to them. Guided by the assumption that anyone can lead, Hess Center programming enables participants to understand, analyze and practice leadership. The essential question posed by the Hess Center is: how do we enact and cultivate effective leadership?

The Hess Center provides ways for students to develop leadership skills through many different programs:

  • The Academic Distinction in Leadership Studies Program
  • The Hess Fellows Advocacy Program
  • The First-Year Student Leadership Challenge Program
  • Co-Curricular Student Development Support
  • The Compass Student Publication
  • The Leadership Matters Speaker Series
  • Bonner Leaders Program

For more information, visit the Hess Center in the Norton Campus Center, Suite 260, or contact us:

Kent Andersen
Director of the Hess Center
Office: Norton Center 264
Office Phone: (205) 226-4679

Ally Walton
Engaged Programs Coordinator
Office: Norton Center 260
Office Phone: (205) 226-7717

Emily Thornton
Coordinator of Hess Fellowships 
Office: Norton Center 265
Office Phone: (205) 226-4993

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