Students celebrate Southwest Leadership Institute completion

“Thank you for your hard work and dedication toward building a better you as both a student and leader in the community,” heralded Student Development Director Phoenix Worthy in his opening remarks at the Southwest Leadership Institute Reception Nov. 13.

Southwest President Tracy D. Hall (center) joins the group of completers from Southwest’s 2018 Leadership Institute.

Southwest President Tracy D. Hall (center) joins the group of completers from Southwest’s 2018 Leadership Institute.

More than 25 graduates and their families assembled in Nabors Auditorium to celebrate the completion of the institute’s program designed to build and improve leadership skills for emerging and existing student leaders at Southwest.

The institute was created to address the low percentage of first-time, full-time freshman who complete their degrees at Southwest. The Office of Student Development aims to increase that percentage by engaging students in both academic and non-academic activities, both inside and outside the classroom.  Through the institute, students are challenged in an off-campus environment with educationally purposeful activities.

For the first time, the institute took place at Victory Ranch in Bolivar, Tennessee, and as customary, during the summer. The 3-day working event featured leadership sessions, group presentations and activities, and to the surprise of some students, paper writing.

“I’m very excited about this year’s group of graduates,” Worthy said. “We had the highest rate of completers since the institute began in 2011; 26 of 27 completed their certification.”

Phoenix Worthy delivers opening remarks.

Phoenix Worthy delivers opening remarks.

Southwest President Tracy D. Hall and Executive Director for Student Retention and Student Success Dr. Jacqueline Taylor presented the completers with their certificates. 

“I’m so proud of these students,” Dr. Hall said. “They are proof of the power of perseverance and the transformative power of education in all its forms.”

Several students throughout the evening acknowledged the impact the institute had on their learning and personal development, from holding oneself accountable in word, deed and action, to learning how to socialize with others.

Collin Mattix is one of the institute’s completers. “One of the lessons I learned is that being a leader is not just about your opinion—you have to reach out to your peers and colleagues because everyone matters,” Mattix said.  “You have to not only gather information to make an informed decision, you have to gather everyone together to be as one, not the only one.”

Dr. Taylor was the featured speaker of the night and one of the institute’s leaders.  She worked with the students on legacy building, requiring them to write their own epitaphs on how they wished to be remembered.  She says exercise challenged them to think about their character and moral compass. “Leadership and legacy building is not about us—it is about service to others with kindness and competence; with honesty and integrity; with the courage of our convictions to speak truth to power with the emotional intelligence that focuses you squarely on justice, service, support, and love for other people,” she said.  “Today is an acknowledgement that you are moving in the right direction towards legacy building.”

Chelbie Reed (middle) accepts her certificate of completion at the 2018 Student Leadership Institute Reception from Dr. Jacqueline Taylor and President Tracy D. Hall.

Dr. Jacqueline Taylor and President Tracy D. Hall present Chelbie Reed (middle) a certificate of completion at the 2018 Student Leadership Institute Reception.

Congratulations to all the completers of the 2018 Southwest Leadership Institute!

  • Andrika Cheairs
  • Brandon Johnson
  • Brittany Townsend
  • Caleb Petty
  • Camira Caldwell
  • Careneche Bond
  • Carrie Ross
  • Cassidy Rieben
  • Chelbie Reed
  • Collin Mattix
  • Destiny Royston
  • Faith Bauer
  • Jalen Burkins
  • Jamie Pena
  • Jerry Walker
  • Jessica Davis
  • Jon Michael Graves
  • Keyione Walton
  • Laura Talley
  • Leah Reed
  • Maya White
  • Olajide Ibitoya
  • Precious Taylor
  • Randy Tran
  • Theodora Asamoah