Eight groups of Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff gathered over dinner in the Magnolia Room on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, to discuss Leadership & Character.

Overview: Acts of kindness, character as being intentional in our relationships, and although layered, recognizing that we’re all on a journey to demonstrate good character.


  • We all noticed a theme that it is easy to show good character when life is easy- a true testament of character is who you are when no one is watching and when life is more difficult.
  • Conversations centered around good character being defined through including & acknowledging others, doing the right thing without expectations, and seeking to constantly improve ourselves.  Through our various personal experiences, we shared how we observed others exemplify good character without being prompted.
  • During our time together, we advanced several definitions of character. One that especially struck me described character as being intentional in our relationships.
  • Over the course of our discussion, we commented on how the true measure of one’s character shines through when one performs acts of kindness and shows leadership in the most difficult circumstances without expecting any reward.
  • And, we’re all on a journey to demonstrate good character and be mindful when doing so. We’re all layered, but we’re showing up for each other. We talked about staying vulnerable and compassionate along the way.
  • It’s unfortunate many acts of character come only in times when needed, we should strive to show character at all times.
  • Good character is not measured in monetary gain, but rather in simple acts that touch the lives of others.
  • Books Mentioned:

o   The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

o   The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

o   Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

o   A Defence of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley

o   What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather

o   Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy