Red Winged Leadership Award Ceremony

Posted by Liz Wick on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 8:32 AM PDT

The Red Winged Leadership Award ceremony took place last night.  The award is given to social entrepreneurs who are inspirational in terms of business acumen, social impact, and leadership. The award is managed entirely by our students in the Graduate Leadership Formation Certificate program.

This is the second year of the program. When the students in last year’s GLFC group conceived and developed the program, I encouraged them to make it a sustainable enterprise that future students help carry forward, either subsequent GLFC groups or some other group of students. This year’s event definitely had sustainability all over it! There were more than 400 people in attendance last night! This could become one of SU’s proudest traditions! What is especially compelling about this event is how it aligns so closely with the mission of the university.

This program is such a great example of what students can accomplish when you put them in charge! I think they are an untapped resource for us! How do we use our imaginations to unleash their creative energies?! This is one example. What is the next??

At last night’s ceremonies, three social entrepreneurs were recognized -- Chris Fontana from Global Visionaries, Shana Greene from Village Volunteers, and Danna Johnston from the Danna K. Johnston Foundation. Each is an impressive and inspiring leader who has created very impressive programs that provide important support to underserved groups. They are all winners! Each deserved a prize and each received one, but the top prize went to Chris Fontana!

I told the students in my Econ 271 class they could earn extra credit by attending the ceremony and writing an essay on which of the three finalists they found to be the most inspiring. I am looking forward to reading those essays!

The event included some excellent videos on each of the finalists. We need to get them up on our U-Tube site so people can see them! In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about the work of the finalists by checking their websites: 

Each year the event should get better and better, and this continuous improvement should become part of the tradition. One of the important changes this year was moving the venue to Campion Ballroom. The ballroom looks a lot better these days with its new lighting and decorating. It was sorely needed and the improvements represent the best spending done on campus in the ten years I have been here! The new venue allowed for a reception that did not take place last year.

Kudos to the students involved in the GLFC this year and to the two faculty who guided them, Rubina Mahsud and Jennifer Marrone!