By Published: Sept. 22, 2019

Presidents Leadership Class in Action

Photo: A scene from the Presidents Leadership Class.

Former defense secretary Robert Gates. Trailblazing astronaut Mae Jemison. Google brand strategist Abigail Posner.

These are among the high-profile guests invited to CU Boulder in recent years as part of the Leo Hill Leadership Speaker Series. This year, the series—now overseen by Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano—is being expanded.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Instead of only one major lecture per year, students and community members will have the opportunity to listen and interact with more than three notable visitors this year, including polar explorer John Huston, presidential historian and Pulitzer prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin and former Navy SEAL turned leadership coach and author Chris Fussell.

John Huston

John Huston

As part of the first American team to ever cross the Arctic unsupported, Huston will speak to students about what is required to achieve extraordinary goals. Fussell will speak about leadership and what is required to succeed in anyone’s current life situation. Kearns Goodwin will focus on leadership in turbulent times and lessons learned from past U.S. presidents.

“Shaping tomorrow’s leaders is a key strategic priority for the university, and this leadership series is central to achieving that goal,” DiStefano said. “It is exciting that we will now be able to offer our students and community even more opportunities to engage with and learn from extraordinary people.”

DiStefano was named the Newton Chair in Leadership. Established in 2003 as the Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership, the chair oversees a variety of leadership programming and initiatives on campus including the Leo Hill Leadership Speaker Series. It was originally named after a former CU president and Denver mayor Quigg Newton.

Chris Fussell

Chris Fussell

Other programs associated with the Newton Chair in Leadership are: the Presidents Leadership Class, INVST Community Leadership Program, CU GOLD, CU Engage, Leeds Scholars Program, Business Leadership Certificate Program, Scripps Leadership and Career Development Program (Athletics), and the Engineering Leadership Program.

The chair also helps to bring experienced leaders from government, business, higher education, the military and the public sector to campus to interact with students and faculty and advise students on leadership paths.

    Support for the Newton Leadership Chair activities comes from the Boettcher Foundation, the Leo Hill Foundation, among others.

      Additional details about these and other speakers in the 2019-20 Leo Hill Leadership lineup will be shared as they are available on the CU Leadership website. Events are open to all enrolled CU Boulder students.

      “While participating in a leader development program is not required to be a leader, our dedicated leadership education and experiences uniquely position our graduates to positively impact humanity,” DiStefano said.

      2019-20 Leo Hill Leadership Speaker Series
      • Oct. 4: John Huston, renowned polar explorer | 6–8 p.m. at CASE W422 Auditorium. Register for Huston event.
      • Oct. 15: Chris Fussell, former Navy SEAL and best-selling author of “Team of Teams” and “One Mission” | 9:30–10:45 a.m. at Wolf Law Wittemyer Courtroom. Register for the Fussell event.
      • Jan. 30: Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author | 7:30 p.m. at Macky Auditorium. Ticketing information will be shared as it becomes available.
      • One more April speaker expected to be announced in coming months. Get updates on all leadership events.