“Gettysburg College has a history of strong leadership and through the GLC, more students will have the opportunity to engage in leadership.”
- Robert Garthwait Jr. ’82, Gettysburg College Board of Trustees
Gettysburg College has been graduating leaders for generations—entrepreneurs, community organizers, CEOs, heads of nonprofits, educators, health professionals, military officers, and many others who effect a positive change in the world. Through a generous gift from an alumnus, a center was created that would maximize opportunities for leadership and provide more purposeful skill development.
Creating the Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC) to integrate and more deliberately advance leadership preparation was the vision of Robert Garthwait Jr. ’82. He credits his experience at Gettysburg for much of his own leadership ability. Garthwait, a College Trustee and third-generation business owner, is deeply committed to preparing future generations to become the leaders the world needs. Garthwait is a generous benefactor, an eager mentor to students, and a member of the GLC Advisory Council.
In the few short years since it was founded within the division of College Life, the GLC has forged collaborations with campus partners such as the Eisenhower Institute, Off-Campus Studies, Center for Public Service, Center for Career Development, and Alumni Relations. New opportunities for connections between students and alumni are continually emerging. Rich and diverse experiences—skills training, assessment tools, mentoring, and small group and panel discussions— provide students both theoretical and real-world insights. A distinctive leadership development model for Gettysburg College has been designed, with leadership principles and competencies that help students and alumni recognize their potential as leaders and their responsibility to serve.
The GLC Leadership Model
What does it mean to prepare leaders for a changing world? How has the definition of leadership changed through the years? From cross-campus discussions and examination of contemporary leadership theory a model of leadership development emerged, closely linked to the goals of a liberal arts education and distinctive for Gettysburg College.
The model is equally useful for designing and delivering GLC programs as it is for students and alumni for lifelong leadership development.
The characteristics of leaders that the model emphasizes to students and alumni are:
- Self-awareness—the ability to authentically and realistically assess who you are
- Engaging difference—the ability to willingly and empathetically engage with others
- Influence - an ability to have an effect on others independent of formal power
- Collaboration—the ability to work with others towards a common purpose
- Vision and strategy—the ability to see the big picture and develop an approach to accomplish shared goals
Preparation for leadership in today’s world requires a broad range of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The GLC Leadership Model provides a framework for programs, services, and resources provided for students and alumni.
A strategic vision for the College and the Garthwait Leadership Center
When Gettysburg College identified its strategic directions in 2007, few could foresee the economic instability to come. Yet the strategies for providing a top liberal arts education—creating a high level of student engagement, establishing programs distinctive to Gettysburg, ensuring accessibility to a diverse student body, and building a sense of inclusiveness and connection among members of the College community—had a sound basis and remain relevant.
Moreover, given the financial challenges that face both colleges and students, these very directions are more critical than ever to the College’s continued success. With a careful eye to prioritization and planning, making the most of opportunities and synergies, the College will continue on a path toward realizing its essential goals.
The Garthwait Leadership Center is poised for distinction, positioning Gettysburg College at the forefront of contemporary student leadership development. But as important as the example it sets within higher education is the preparation the GLC offers students who will become the next generation of leaders in their professions, communities, the nation, and the world.