Welcome to the May edition of the GLC Newsletter.
May is usually a time of celebration and recognition on campus. But this May’s conviviality was far more expansive! Just a few days ago, the College delivered a burst of light and hope across the internet through a short but powerful virtual ceremony on Facebook to honor our Class of 2020.
In this vein, I want to dedicate this edition of the GLC Newsletter to celebrating our Class of 2020, especially the eight graduating seniors who served as GLC Leadership Mentors over the past several years. Leadership Mentors (LMs) are highly trained peer educators who are, in many ways, at the heart of our organization. They are a group of talented, ambitious, and caring students who have dedicated a large portion of their Gettysburg experience to helping other students recognize their potential for leadership and their responsibility to serve.
These remarkable graduates have impacted and inspired me, so—as an expression of my thanks and appreciation—I have written eight leadership lessons (one per senior) that highlight what I have learned from them! Hopefully this gives you a sense of their contributions to the GLC and to our broader College community.
- Leaders always extend a hand to help. Ryan Ahern ’20 (Arlington, MA, biology major, Spanish minor) is famous on campus for his firm and congenial handshakes—which is fitting, given how willing he is to lend a helping hand to those in need. Ryan’s personable approach and his valued contributions to a variety of campus organizations have allowed him to have a positive influence on the lives of many Gettysburgians. His caring nature and desire to serve remind us that the simplest gestures can go a long way.
- "No pressure, no diamonds.” If you’ve ever met Savoy Drummond ’20 (Bronx, NY, economics major, business minor), you’ve probably heard him say this phrase—and you also know he lives by it. Savoy’s positivity, resilience, and determination have empowered him to succeed through the toughest of barriers. Savoy illustrates that adversity forges the incredible.
- Leadership has a way of finding you. Use the opportunity to shine. There is not much that Callie Fucarino ’20 (Waldwick, NJ, political science major, philosophy minor) hasn’t done at Gettysburg. She has pursued several paths to positively impact her peers, but many leadership roles have also found Callie because of her dynamic abilities and her genuine personality. She has used these opportunities to make a difference, and there is no better example of this than her role as the Class of 2020 President. Check out her Senior Celebration video message. Callie’s laughter and love for others reminds us to use the power we have to better the lives of others.
- Be positive. Even during the most challenging times, Hadley McVeigh ’20 (Fort Washington, PA, English major with a writing concentration) exudes positivity. Hadley’s warm smile, ‘can do’ attitude, and infectious optimism has enabled her to accomplish so much at Gettysburg, while also helping others to realize their goals. Hadley shows us that positivity is a condition to aspire to and exemplify.
- Leaders must pursue justice. Jazmin Reynoso Ortiz ’20 (Bronx, NY, political science and public policy double major) has an insatiable drive to learn and an unwavering commitment to put what she learns into action. She has been a force for positive change at Gettysburg College, challenging her peers, her professors, and even me to join her in uprooting injustice. Her efforts underscore the ultimate goal of leadership, which is to spur meaningful change in our world.
- High standards drive leaders to achieve. Riya Parikh ’20 (Niles, IL, biology major, health professions preparation) is an achiever. Whatever she puts her mind to, Riya accomplishes. Over the past few years—even before she was an LM—I witnessed her identify goals and achieve them every time. Riya’s accomplishments are reached by the standards she sets for herself. Her ambition helps us to believe in what is possible and to always aim high.
- Leaders have a deep sense of purpose. Although he probably wouldn’t admit it because of his humility, Anders Spittal’s ’20 (Putnam Valley, NY, sociology major, peace and justice studies minor) strong belief system inspires many people around him to lead with integrity. He has an affable and approachable leadership style that can engage almost anyone on a team. Anders’ accessibility, coupled with his firm set of values to guide his purpose, enables him to serve as a positive role model for others. Anders illustrates that purpose should be at the core of our leadership practice.
- Leadership is service. Take just one look at Emily Weilk’s ’20 (West Haven CT, sociology and public policy double major, peace and justice studies and women, gender, and sexuality double minor) resume and you will be amazed. Not only was she a top student scholar on campus, but she was also a devoted student leader as well. Emily’s efforts are fueled by her desire to serve. She cares deeply about the people she engages with, and she is driven to meet the needs of those for whom she leads. Emily’s servant-leadership reminds us that it is not about “me,” rather, it is always about “us.”
I am deeply grateful for the contributions of our seniors and the lessons they leave behind for us. I will miss them greatly. I hope their examples of leadership can be helpful for us all as we navigate these challenging times.
Thank you for reading and for your continued support of the GLC. I wish you well.
Executive Director, Garthwait Leadership Center