The Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets are composed of honorable, courageous, disciplined, selfless individuals with inspirational integrity. These cadets are trained and mentored into young men and women who will change tomorrow’s generation, and as a whole, today’s world.
Cadets maintain many responsibilities, and extracurriculars, on and off the Quad. Although each cadet endures military-style training and agendas, in which many work toward a career in the U.S. Armed Forces, not all have plans to pursue commission into the military. In fact, a majority of the Corps of Cadets actually seek professional careers concluding their time as a cadet and student at Texas A&M University.
The Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership exists to provide services to each cadet through a driven curriculum devoted to scholastic excellence and leadership abilities with application in future professional careers. These resources are also available to cadets who wish to seek commission into the military as well. Beyond the curriculum, the Center provides resources to ensure endless opportunities for cadets such as internships, job placement, informational sessions, and much more. Just over 80% of Drill and Ceremony cadets obtained jobs with companies like 49 Financial, American Airlines, Valero, and federal government agencies. In fact, as of May 2018, 90% of all cadets who were seeking a job or internship obtained one. The Center offers different courses and workshop opportunities that mold cadets into leaders with indispensable personal development, skills, and leadership concepts to ensure the utmost preparation.
“When all this started in the early 2000s, it was mostly just a collection of one-hour courses,” explained Dr. David W. Keller, director of the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership. “However, over time, the opportunities that are available to cadets now are much more numerous and are still expanding.”
The Center has grown from what was a small “program” to now a “Center for Ethical Leadership.” The previous courses still exist, however they are now “interconnected through intentional content design that allows each semester to build on the previous ones.” In addition, the Center now hosts two conferences: the Intentional Leadership Conference and the Nichols Rising Leader Conference. With an intense focus on character development and career readiness, the Hollingsworth Center is providing incredible resources to prepare students in the greatest extent.
“Our main priority is student ownership of their own personal leadership development journey,” Dr. Keller said. “In my experience, students tend to seek that ownership when they are surrounded by an environment that offers challenging, yet practical, opportunities to learn and grow.”
The Center strives to provide the highest quality of opportunity available to students and help equip cadets to achieve their fullest development on a daily basis. It is a day by day learning experience that results in the greatest version of students who seek excellence out of the resources provided by the Center.
“For me, the most powerful aspect of our collection of programs is simply that they allow participating students to think seriously about the topic of ethical leadership,” Dr. Keller responded. “Regardless of what specific element is most impactful, the main idea is that students get the unique opportunity to work on themselves every single week.”
Dr. Keller has much more in mind for the Center to become an even better resource to students in the Corps of Cadets.
“With additional funding in the coming years, we are hoping to expand our current offerings by creating a formal mentoring program, an assessment and research office, corporate liaisons, additional academic offerings, and an exciting new fellows program,” he shared. “We’re positioned to do some really cool things in the near future if the funding comes through.”
Cadets who have participated in the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership have found much success internally as well as externally. Testimonials have provided incredible assurance as to just how much this Center has benefited the Corps of Cadets.
Former Cadet Zachary Lix ‘16 participated in the leadership opportunity and currently serves as business development and market analyst with Tideway Offshore Solutions.
“Reflecting on my time as a cadet, I continually see the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership as one of the critical drivers of my success after graduation,” Zachary informed. “While the Corps itself gives us leadership opportunities, the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership expands those opportunities and teaches the critical skills needed to lead others.”
Similar to Zachary, there have been several other instances where the leadership Center has better-prepared cadets seeking professional careers post-graduation. Former cadet, and current English teacher, Ashley Riggs ‘14 is also an example of how the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership prepared these students to the greatest extent.
“Through my SOMS classes and through spearheading an early prototype of a Career Readiness chain within my outfit, I came to view who I was in a completely different light,” she explained. “As an educator, I am still doing what I loved in the Corps: investing meaningfully in people’s lives and helping them to grow into the best version of themselves they can be.”
The Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership has been an indispensable tool to the Corps of Cadets. Over half of the Corps of Cadets will step into the professional field, while the other pursue commission to serve our country. The Center offers resources to all cadets and has played a key role in cadet preparation for either avenue.
For more information about the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership and to see how you can support, visit https://leadbyexample.tamu.edu/corps-of-cadets.html.
By Kaitlin Villa ’22