Award honors leaders

by Kathryn LiskStaff Writer

It’s no question that Simpson College is full of student leaders. However, until now the college has had limited ways to recognize these individuals. The President’s Certificate is about to change that.

The President’s Leadership Certificate was developed by the Center for Vocational and Integrative Learning as a program to celebrate students who are already leaders and encourage others to become more involved.

“We are interested in the students who are already engaged in the community and those who aren’t,” Bobby Nalean, leadership and service coordinator for CVIL, said. “Ideally, the current leaders can help mentor younger students and show them the way.”

The program, which has been in the making since last spring, consists of several components. These include participating in three experiences for at least 40 hours, attending reflection groups twice a year and completing a spring retreat. Students who participate in the program are invited to attend a dinner at the end of the year to celebrate their accomplishments and will receive a certificate signed by President John Byrd.

Senior Kasey Peters said that even in his last year he plans to take advantage of this new program.

“The program interests me because it requires participants to actually sit down and reflect on what they are doing and how they are making a difference,” Peters said.

As the program develops, underclassmen will have the opportunity to earn different levels of achievement depending on the years they invest in it. One year of participating earns the bronze certificate, two years earns silver, and three years of service earns gold.

This was one of the attractions for sophomore Robyn Ruggles.

“I have the option to continue over the next few years and will be able to make that top level,” Ruggles said. “That would be a fantastic achievement and would look great on a resume.”

However, just because upperclassmen aren’t able to achieve the gold certificate doesn’t mean they won’t be recognized.

“We are absolutely hoping that juniors and seniors get involved,” Nalean said. “They will receive a Simpson College President’s Leadership Certificate that doesn’t specify bronze, silver or gold.”

Jim Hayes, associate dean and director of CVIL, said he hopes students use the program to analyze and understand their experiences.

Students “need to be open to reflect on what they have learned about themselves, working with others and the nature of leadership through these activities,” Hayes said.

Nalean said the program was designed to help all students who are hoping to get involved see their capability as leaders.

“We aren’t just looking for students who are already in leadership positions in their activities,” Nalean said. “Students who are members of the choir or members of CAB are equally eligible.”

Ruggles said other students also seem interested in this opportunity.

“I have talked to a couple of friends, and the general consensus is, ‘Why wouldn’t we try to get the leadership certificate?'” Ruggles said.

As the overseer of this new venture, Nalean said he looks forward to the beginning of the President’s Leadership Certificate program.

“It’s about helping students frame their experiences and seeing them as opportunities to be a part of the leadership process,” Nalean said.

Applications and additional information about the President’s Leadership Certificate are available at