Student Testimonies

 Sheena Willison    Courtney Jacobs
 "Thank you, President's Leadership Circle, for I am eternally grateful."

Sheena Willison, PLC ALumni 2012-13
   "The Presidential Leadership Circle provided me with a year in college that I will never forget, which encompassed endless possibilities, opportunities, and relationships that couldn't be replicated in any other environment or institution.  Placing a value on the experiences and life lessons that I have gained from this past year in the President's Leadership Circle is nearly impossible.  I have created relationships with so many wonderful people, ranging from my peers, to the President of Frostburg State University, and many in between."

Courtney Jacobs, PLC Alumni 2012-13

Fireside Chats with Dr. Gibralter, University President

"Interacting with everyone during the Fireside Chats was an important part of my experience in PLC.  I learned to look at leadership from the perspective of other leaders, and learn things about myself as well.  During those talks, I learned what my own weaknesses could be, and I learned to augment myself against them with the practices and examples of others.  The opportunity to speak with Dr. Gibralter was enlightening and uplifting." James Richards, 2012-2013

Cross-Cultural Excursion, Amazon Rainforest

"Going with the President's Leadership Circle to Ecuador was the first time I had ever been outside of North America.  It was the first time I encountered a population of people that spoke little to no English.  In that kind of environment, I had to almost relearn how to communicate with others, relying mostly on gestures and facial expressions. As I fumbled around with the rudiments of human communication, I came to understand something about people as a whole: we want to be understood, we want to be listened to.  This is not a desire build on the craving of attention, but on the desire to reach out with fumbling hands and connect with another person in a meaningful way."  James Richards, 2012-2013

"As we traveled around the country, I came to understand something that I could not look away from; I was part of the affluent elite in this country.  Although I did not have much money to my name, I knew that the circumstances of my birthplace had elevated me above most of the Ecuadorian people.  I saw how my culture and the culture of my people had come to shape the lives of those living in Ecuador, and as I say with the other PLC members huddled under the thatched roofs of the Achuar huts deep in the Amazon, I heard their pleas for change. 'You have the power.' they told us, 'your lives shape ours.'  I came to understand that the habits that I have grown up with, those things that I had chosen for comfort's sake had forced others into defensive postures.  I came to appreciate the fact that my voice would hold more sway in the long run and, that for the sake of those we don't know, it was my responsibility to try and use that voice to call for change."  James Richards, 2012-2013

Leadership and Social Change

"I believe that I can and will be a leader in my community for years to come, and PLC has been an important part of that revelation." James Richards, 2012-2013

"Being in PLC has taught me so much about myself.  I've learned how influential my voice could be, and how that gave me a responsibility towards others and myself.  I met astounding individuals and interacted with beautiful foreign cultures.  The experience helped me to put my life in a broader human context, and I learned how interconnected the human experience truly is."  James Richards, 2012-2013

"My experiences with PLC have taught me the lesson that to be a 'leader' for the sake of the title is a vapid endeavor.  To be a leader in appointed title only is meaningless, and to be pampered on the basis of that appointment is an uncomfortable thought.  Leadership should be an ongoing effort, complete with responsibilities and duties, and that sometimes being an unsung hero is preferable to being celebrated."  James Richards, 2012-2013


"The amazing personal support was life changing; I had never felt more empowered and important than when I was sitting and talking with Dr. Gibralter and Dr. Bowling.  I really came to understand that I was cared about by important people, and that, in turn, made me feel important.  It made me want to make others feel important too."

James Richards, PLC Alumni 2012-2013