Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. ~ Harry S. Truman
“Most college education gives students knowledge about their future career or field of study,” says Scott Lovett, a senior finance major and a former Corps of Cadets member at Texas A&M University. “Only a few places, the Hollingsworth Leadership Program included, give students knowledge about how to be successful in other facets of life as well.”
Texas A&M’s Hollingsworth Leadership Development Program offers an academic certificate in leadership studies designed to prepare students to lead the way in their chosen field and beyond.
The program is designed for students who’ve elected not to pursue a military career after graduation; 60 percent of Corps members do not join the military. And although it’s housed in the School of Military Sciences, the program is open to all Texas A&M students, whether in the Corps or not.
Program Director Dr. Richard Cummins,’73, is a former business entrepreneur who specializes in leadership development and teaches several of the program’s courses. “It’s intriguing for me to help young people prepare for the working world; I view it as a form of community development,” he states.
Program graduate and former cadet Elizabeth Villanueva, who earned her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies this spring, says she joined the leadership program to better her chances in the job market. “I knew I was not joining the military and I wanted to improve my leadership skills and show potential employers that I am worth the investment,” she explains.
Villanueva is continuing her education at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy as a first-year pharmacy student and says the leadership development program at Texas A&M helped her during the application process.
“The school asked me about my leadership skills and I was able to point out the certificate and show them I was well prepared to be a leader, and able to evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses,” she recalls. “It continues to help me with group assignments and working with people that have different leadership styles.”
Lovett, who is set to graduate in December, plans to pursue a master’s in real estate at Mays Business School and says of the leadership program, “It helped me in the way I approach new problems and face new challenges in my life.”
Such challenges have included landing an internship this past summer for a commercial real estate company in Houston. “I learned a great deal about the current market drivers affecting the Port of Houston’s economy and the different ways supply chains are interrelated around the globe,” he notes.
Cummins says the leadership program helps students get valuable internships like Lovett’s by identifying entities in need of interns and helping the students ready themselves to dip a toe into the working world.
The program also offers students the benefits of mentorship by matching them with successful former students from a wide spectrum of careers.
And just because the program operates out of the School of Military Sciences doesn’t mean the focus is in any way limited, Cummins says, as coursework is required from other colleges to earn the certificate. “There are courses within every college that contribute to leadership development,” he explains.
The program’s required military sciences courses are not about being in the military, Cummins insists, saying, “We cover topics such as being an effective staff member and ethical behavior. The students gain practice through participation in the Corps or other campus organizations, as well as through internships both on and off campus.”
Lovett says he enjoyed Cummins’ classes in particular because of the way the professor challenged him. “He has a fantastic way of developing people’s thoughts by drawing on their current knowledge, giving them new perspectives of viewing the world around them, and challenging their preconceived notions,” he says.
Villanueva agrees, adding, “The thing that made this program unique is that it was tailored to the individual. Dr. Cummins would ask the class to tell him some topics we’d like to learn about. So when we came to class next, he would talk about those topics. In the seminar classes he would give us cases that were not only recent in the news but related to our areas of study.”
She acknowledges that while having the certificate on her resume is definitely a plus, it’s really what developed on the inside that has served her best. “It’s the intangible qualities that I developed and identified within myself through the course of the program that are really the most valuable,” she concludes.
The Hollingsworth Leadership Development Program is named for Lt. Gen. James F. Hollingsworth, a 1940 Texas A&M graduate and Corps member who went on to serve with distinction in the U.S. Army, including serving in WWII and commanding forces in Vietnam. Among his many honors and awards, Hollingsworth was awarded four Silver Stars, the Army Commendation Medal and six Purple Hearts.
About 12 Impacts of the 12th Man: 12 Impacts of the 12th Man is an ongoing series throughout the year highlighting the significant contributions of Texas A&M University students, faculty, staff and former students on their community, state, nation and world. To learn more about the series and see additional impacts, visit http://12thman.tamu.edu.
Media contact: Lesley Henton, Division of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University; 979-845-5591, firstname.lastname@example.org