Lafayette Leadership Institute has educated emerging undergraduate leaders for 17 years. Each February, the one-day conference features an alumni keynote speaker with three blocks of educational sessions, an alumni panel presentation, alumni round-table discussions, leadership resources, and a leadership recognition ceremony.
LLI grew from a dream held by Pam Brewer, associate dean of students and director of student life programs. She envisioned a leadership program in the early 1990s that would bring together students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
“I believe we have failed in our educational mission if we release students into the world of work, community, and family upon graduation without having made a concerted effort to engage and infuse them with leadership learning and opportunity,” says Brewer, who led a committee to develop the concept.
Funding was provided by the Class of 1968, and the first conference was held in 1996. The class established the Leadership Development Endowment Fund as its 25th Reunion gift to the College. In 2000, additional money was added to the fund. Class president Bob Albus ’68 credits Gary Evans ’57, emeritus trustee and then vice president of college relations and development, with the idea that the Class of ’68’s lasting legacy should be leadership. Taking a special interest in the class and noticing a large number of leaders among its graduates, Evans believed there was no better way to demonstrate its leadership qualities than to underwrite the fund. The class agreed.
Alumni support has been critical to the institute’s success, with over 150 alumni volunteers representing the classes of 1955 through 2012 participating since 1996. Rachel Moeller ’88, executive director of alumni relations, has served on the LLI committee for about 10 years, moderated panels, and presented numerous educational sessions.