Leipzig Selected as Director of Center for Responsible Leadership
Dr. John Leipzig has been selected as The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation Leadership Chair and director of Alma College's new Center For Responsible Leadership. His appointment is effective June 19.
Leipzig, who holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in communication, is University of Alaska Fairbanks Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Emeritus and Professor of Communication, Emeritus. Prior to retiring from UAF in 2002, he undertook a three-year commitment as a professor of communication and Chancellor of the St. Thomas Campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. After three years as the UVI Chancellor, he spent a term in 2006 as a Visiting Scholar in Communication at the University of Johannesburg, the University of Pretoria and the University of the North West in South Africa lecturing on Leadership and Corporate Communication.
Leipzig has an extensive publication record on leadership, communication ethics and organization communication and serves on the advisory board of the Corporate Communication Institute based at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He co-facilitated the international Corporate Communication Conference and gave an opening presentation on developing a philosophy of contextually punctuated leadership in Wroxton, England.
“I am thrilled about coming to Alma College where the fostering of service and the promotion of strong future leaders for the state, nation and world are a mission priority,” Leipzig said. “I am honored by this opportunity and see it as a call. I absolutely believe that inspirational leaders emerge because of their skills and gifts at the precise time that they are most needed. To have the privilege of working with the next generation of leaders who will make a difference in this world is a true privilege.”
Building on Alma's emphasis on public service and civic engagement while also addressing the needs of today's workplace, the Center for Responsible Leadership encompasses a large network of leadership-development opportunities for Alma students, including guest speakers, book discussions, leaders-in-residence, academic courses with a leadership emphasis, student-led seminars, off-campus service trips, faith-based experiences, and a leadership fellows program.
Leipzig's charge is to further develop the initial work already accomplished into viable, vibrant programs that help mentor Alma students in learning how to lead change, enhancing their sense of ethical purpose and commitment, and understanding the long-term impact of decisions on the health and well being of organizations and communities.
“I believe that if a kid from Vassar, Michigan, can have the opportunities that I have had, all of our students can experience options for leadership if they are willing to take risks and feel confident in their abilities to succeed,” he said.
Leipzig returns to his mid-Michigan roots. A fourth-generation Michigander, his great-grandfather founded Wightman's Jewelry Store in Vassar that his grandfather assumed ownership when the flu pandemic of 1918-19 took his great-grandfather. His stepfather, Harold Lane, spent his career at Saginaw Steering Gear and was a mayor of Vassar.
His mother, Suzanne Lane, a long-time educator and principal in Vassar schools, still lives on the second-floor of the building, now the offices of the Pioneer Times newspaper. She is still active with the Habitat For Humanity boards of Vassar and Tuscola County; Vassar Chamber of commerce; and the Keep Vassar Beautiful Committee. Her side of the family came from the Freeland area.
Leipzig graduated as salutatorian of Vassar High School. He lettered in football, was on the golf team and was active in debate and forensics, band and the thespian group. He graduated in 1969 from Western Michigan University with a bachelor of arts degree and in 1974 from the University of South Florida with a master of arts degree in speech communication. His Ph.D comes from Kent State University in rhetoric and communication.
The new director assumes his duties following interim co-directors Carol Gregg, Ron Lemmon and Ed Lorenz, who presided over the formation of the Center and initiated core programs while performing their normal College duties. Gregg is the director of the Discovering Vocation Project, where many of the Center's concepts originated; Lemmon is assistant professor of business administration; and Lorenz is Reid-Knox Professor of History and professor of political science.
Students selected in the first of the Leadership Fellows Program, a major component of the Center, will participate in a week-long Leadership Development Institute at the Ghost Ranch Conference Center in Abiqui, N.M., in August.
Senior statesmen and former presidential candidates Bob Dole and George McGovern have accepted invitations to discuss leadership and civility at the inaugural Center for Responsible Leadership speaker’s forum Sept. 27 at Alma College. The speaker series will bring prominent leaders to campus for discussions on related leadership topics.
The Discovering Vocation Project, funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc., continues through the end of June 2007, and the best of its programs will continue under the Center for Responsible Leadership's auspices.
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in Midland has committed $3 million to the Center to help prepare future leaders. The Center also has received major funding from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Hayden Foundation and Antje and Paul Newhagen. The $500,000 Lilly Endowment grant will be used to support many of the Center's core programs, including off-campus service trips, speakers, course development and faith-based experiences.
The Hayden Foundation gift will provide support for the Center's Leadership Fellows Program. Don Hayden is an Alma College trustee emeritus and board chair of Hayco Industries. The gift from the Newhagens will fund the Center for Responsible Leadership Speaker Series for three years. Antje Newhagen is a 1967 graduate, an Alma College trustee and retired director of publications and communications with Altera Corp.
Leipzig is married with two children. He met his wife, Felicia, at WMU, and they have been married for more than 37 years. His son, Nic, recently received a Ph.D. in bioengineering from Rice University and will do post-doctorate studies in neuro-engineering at the University of Toronto. His daughter, Alena, recently graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands with an undergraduate degree in marine biology and intends to pursue graduate studies in Australia. She has dual citizenship since she was born in Australia while her father was an International Visiting Fellow in Communication Studies.
Posted: Fri, June 2nd, 2006 at 10:21AM