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Widener University announces 2018 President for a Day

President for a Day

Junior DeShawn Ivey will trade places with President Julie E. Wollman for a day.

An undergraduate student from Philadelphia will assume the role of president of Widener University – for a day.

Junior DeShawn Ivey will swap his role as a student with President Julie E. Wollman on Wednesday, April 4. He will be the 16th student president of the university under a program that will allow him to experience the top leadership post firsthand, while Wollman spends her day as a student.

A photo of Ivey and Wollman is available for download here.

President for a Day is a spring highlight at Widener. Wollman will get to attend classes and activities in Ivey’s place, trading her business attire for jeans and her presidential perspective for an undergraduate immersion experience. Ivey will spend the day as an executive, meeting with a representative of the Board of Trustees, gathering with members of the senior leadership team to learn more about what goes into running a university, and serving as an ambassador of Widener on a visit to the mayor’s office at Chester City Hall. He will also have time to himself at the president’s desk.

The annual event is an innovative example of Widener’s commitment to leadership training. Widener is home to the Oskin Leadership Institute, which encourages students to lead outside their comfort zones, with the aim to inspire and prepare them to become strategic thinkers and responsible citizens.

Ivey, a finance major with an economics minor, was selected from three finalists after a competitive application and interview process. He is already an outstanding student leader. He serves as a senator in the Student Government Association, is secretary to The Money Club through the School of Business Administration, and is president of Black Men United and publicist for the Black Student Union. Ivey also helped launch a tutoring and mentoring program at Chester High School this fall, which he visits multiple times a week to work with students and serve as a role model.

A 2015 graduate of George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, Ivey said he expects the President-for-a-Day experience will give him a new perspective on the many demands of a university president, and he hopes it will help him learn additional ways to be a voice for students.

“This opportunity means a lot to me,” Ivey said. “I will be in a position to show the world that men of the minority can be leaders outside of the entertainment and sports world. The university continues to give students opportunities to challenge themselves in ways you can never imagine. I am very grateful to have been selected for President for a Day.”

Wollman said she is looking forward to the experience.

“President for a Day is not only a fun day for me, but also a fantastic opportunity to connect with students in their element. I get a sense of their classes from the inside, hear what’s on their minds over an informal lunch in the university cafeteria, and get a real appreciation for their commitment to campus activities. It is a great way to demonstrate Widener’s dedication to leadership training, and for me to appreciate our students’ Widener experience by walking in their shoes,” Wollman said.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,