WWU introduces new Center for Leadership and Character with “Spark” Launch event

Before there is fire, there must be a spark. That was the theme for a November 9 event to officially introduce the University’s new Center for Leadership and Character.

“Tonight’s SPARK launch is just that – a spark to ignite passion and the proverbial fire to address the complex problems of the world,” said President Jeremy Moreland, addressing the gathering of students, faculty, staff and community leaders at Dulany Auditorium. “Leadership is the ‘space race’ of this century, and tonight’s SPARK launch will serve as a catalyst for how William Woods will build leaders into the future.”


The mission of the Center for Leadership and Character will be to build leadership capacity to address the economic, environmental, health, political and social problems of our society and world. The Center will achieve its mission through a series of initiatives, such as internal programming, outreach with corporate and community development partners, connection with the chamber of commerce, and other local and state agencies.

Benefitting all WWU students regardless of academic major, the Center will further expand its mission through the creation of experiential learning opportunities throughout the year, including large-scale events like SPARK, and other leadership forums.

Dr. Tony Andenoro, Senior Director of Leadership and Strategic Initiatives at WWU, issued a call to action for the Center during the SPARK launch. He outlined the world’s major issues of the day (increases in population, the need for greater agricultural production and energy capacity, depleted natural resources, climate change, etc.) and how colleges and universities have traditionally served a unique role in gathering some of the brightest minds to ponder solutions to the complex problems of society.


“The Center for Leadership and Character will be about bringing people together at William Woods, and benefitting from the vast variety of fresh viewpoints and perspectives of our students that can provide a path to solutions, change and sustainability,” Andenoro said. “Bringing them together in partnership with faculty, staff, community and corporate leaders can unlock the key to real change in the world. That will be the mission of the Center for Leadership and Character.”

Andenoro stressed the four major themes of the Center, which include a balanced approach, innovative instruction, an interdisciplinary nature (serving all academic majors and disciplines on campus) and collaboration between students, employees and community leaders. As a demonstration of the importance of collaboration, he moderated a panel with two local Callaway County leaders, Fulton Mayor Lowe Cannell and Kim Barnes, President and CEO of the Callaway Bank, who discussed issues of leadership and character in their professional capacities.


There is no better time than immediately after the November 8 elections, and in light of the tremendous adversity seen in the world, to engage dynamic students, faculty, corporate and community leaders in conversation about the ethical leadership that is most needed to address such challenges, Andenoro said.

“We need to be aspiring for solutions that might seem to be unattainable,” he said. “Because the closer and closer we get to that goal, the more amazing things we can achieve along the way.”

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