The Presidents Leadership Class (PLC) is a nationally renowned program that has guided the leadership development of Colorado’s most talented undergraduate students for more than four decades. PLC is a fully sanctioned academic program of the University of Colorado Boulder, and works in partnership with the University to recruit and educate top students in a rigorous four-year, community-based, academic and experiential leadership program.
Founded in 1972, PLC began as a conversation between William Douglas, Dean of Admissions, and Terry Heineman, Assistant Director of Admissions. Douglas and Heineman thought it worthwhile to initiate a leadership development program at CU Boulder as a strategy to recruit Colorado’s top students to attend the university and provide leadership for the state of Colorado. Both felt it important to involve a number of outstanding leaders in the state to inform the creation of a pioneering leadership program. This led Douglas and Heineman to William Coors, then President of the Adolph Coors Company. These three developed the Presidents Leadership Class, and named it in honor of the university president and the corporate presidents involved in the program’s formation.
Today, as when it started, PLC is an integral part of the undergraduate leadership landscape of the University of Colorado Boulder. The program is seated within the office of the University Provost and is managed by a director, two full-time professional staff, one full-time faculty and two adjunct faculty. Scholars are awarded a one-time merit scholarship their first year and have ample opportunity to apply for other PLC exclusive scholarships as they move through the program.
Each year, 50 of CU Boulder’s most gifted incoming students are selected to be PLC Scholars. Beginning in 2013, PLC also offers a second point of entry for current CU students or transfer students where a limited number of rising sophomores will be invited to join the incoming cohort. Scholars receive a rigorous leadership development education that fosters both intellectual, personal, and professional growth, resulting in college graduates with honed critical thinking, problem solving, leadership skills and character virtues that exemplify PLC’s mission.
To develop extraordinary, ethical leaders for the betterment of individuals and society by promoting a broad, inclusive approach to leadership, fostering excellence in our exclusive academic competencies, delivering pioneering curriculum and experiential learning, leveraging the advantages of the University and the state of Colorado, and supporting our students with mentors, community, alumni, and financial resources.
Leveraging its over 40-year legacy, the Presidents Leadership Class is a leading model of a four-year comprehensive, multidisciplinary, undergraduate, leadership development learning community focusing on ethical reasoning, critical thinking, global perspectives and inclusiveness. PLC develops extraordinary leaders who apply their unique approach to leadership throughout their lives, in their academic fields, professions, and communities in Colorado and beyond.
Approved by the PLC Board of Advocates – August 2014