New Class Brings the C-suite to Campus

Steve Smith in a classroom

Steve Smith '92, president & CEO of L.L. Bean, (sitting) and Rob Symington ’86 visited campus in May to talk business, and they'll team up again for the new course Profiles in Leadership. Photo by Dan Loh.

Alums return to campus to inspire the next generation of Dickinsonians

by Tony Moore

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like in the C-suite—the top rung of the corporate ladder, where you’ll find the CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, etc.—Dickinson is launching a course to provide students an all-access pass into the inner workings of a wide variety of businesses. That includes everything from to how to run (and often found) a company, how to develop the skills corporations look for in candidates and where leaders see their industries headed in the future.

In other words, it’s a dynamic extension of what Dickinson has been doing for nearly 240 years: Keeping our students on the cutting edge of what the world needs most.

Student-alumni connections

Beginning this fall, Steve Riccio, senior lecturer in international business and management, will be co-facilitating the course with Rob Symington ’86, a Dickinson Board of Trustees member and senior consultant at Avenue Capital. It’s called Profiles in Leadership, and it will combine weekly presentations by some of Dickinson’s most distinguished alumni with in-depth discussions on many contemporary leadership issues. It will also examine present leadership issues and those only glimpsed on the horizon—including power and influence, gender and leadership, crisis leadership, creative and innovative leadership, and leadership development.

“Students will have the opportunity to listen to and reflect upon the experiences of Dickinson alumni in various leadership roles,” says Riccio, noting that the course will focus on organizational leadership and allow students to explore and develop skills and knowledge needed to lead organizational transformation and change while navigating the day-to-day challenges of serving in a leadership role. “Through these interactions and other exercises, they will develop their own leadership philosophy to serve their communities in meaningful ways.”

Producing leaders

Speakers so far include Steve Smith ’92 (president & CEO of L.L. Bean), Stafford Meyer ’93 (founder and CEO, Porte + Hall), Ian Geise ’94 (president and GM of VOXX International), Paul Yater ’94 (CIO & head of human resources at 84 Lumber) and Rick Anderson ’92 (owner of France 44, a multiplatform gourmet lifestyle experience).

Featuring interactive leadership exercises, the sessions will center on alumni presentations and a follow-up Q&A. A final project in which students develop their own personal leadership philosophy by reflecting on the presentations, activities and exercises throughout the semester as well as their own experiences and future aspirations will round out the class.

“To have alumni of this caliber come back to campus to provide their high-level insight and guidance to the next generation of Dickinsonians is invaluable,” says President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11. “The fact that Dickinson produces industry leaders like these—over and over again—is a true testament to the power of our liberal-arts education and the college’s ability to instill in our students leadership qualities that go beyond traditional boundaries.”


Published July 29, 2022