“I am going to take away so much more than I could have ever imagined. I have had my eyes opened to a set of issues, thoughts, and perspectives I had never heard before.”

These words were shared by cluster facilitator, Michael Regilio ’04, ’11, as he reflected on his LeaderShape® experience, which fulfills the dreams that Michael Schermer, former Director and Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, had in 1997 when he brought LeaderShape® to Illinois State University for the first time. 20 years later the program is still making a profound impact on the students and staff members who attend the immersive weeklong leadership program each year.

When Schermer heard about a new leadership program called LeaderShape®, he knew it was just what the Illinois State campus community needed. LeaderShape® is an opportunity to bring leaders from organizations across campus together to develop their leadership skills while gaining a better understanding of other people and organizations on campus. Two decades later, LeaderShape® is still bringing Illinois State students together for this purpose, and Schermer is still supporting the program.

In honor of the 20th Anniversary, Schermer generously made a gift to the Leadership Initiative Fund to provide co-curricular scholarships for every student who attended LeaderShape® this year. “Although the Dean of Students Office makes every effort to keep cost low for LeaderShape®, the $50 fee can sometimes be an issue for students. We are so thankful for the support of Mike and other generous alumni and friends who support our scholarships!” said leadership development specialist Skylar Guimond ’09, ‘15.

Mike Schermer with students at LeaderShape 2017

On May 17, the 20th anniversary celebrations officially began in Carlinville, IL, the current home of LeaderShape®, with a special alumni panel of past LeaderShape® participants, and recognition of Schermer’s dedication to the program.  Emily Kimmey ’99, ‘01, a participant of the first LeaderShape® in 1997 shared her reflections on how LeaderShape® is still one of the most impactful leadership trainings in which she has participated. Her remarks as well as those from Gordon McKavanagh ‘08 and Arlene Hosea ’82, ’84, inspired students as they shared how they still use the lessons they learned at LeaderShape® in their careers today.

The Division of Student Affairs will recognize the importance of the 20th Anniversary of LeaderShape® by continuing celebrations throughout the year. We will debut a special video this fall to share alumni stories and reflections on their experiences, and we will host a special gathering during Homecoming. The Division of Student Affairs invites all LeaderShape® alumni to join them for Homecoming at the Student Affairs Alumni and Friends Tailgate tent on October 21.

Erin Thomas, director of assessment and engagement initiatives, and former cluster facilitator reflected that ‘As we learned at LeaderShape®, Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “a mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension” acknowledging the 20 years of LeaderShape® at Illinois State, we will spend the year celebrating how graduates of the program have stayed in action, creating waves of change, and how the next generation of attendees will change the world.’

We hope you join in the celebration and honor this long-standing program with us throughout the year. Be sure to follow the Division of Student Affairs social media pages to learn more about the celebrations throughout the year.