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      President for a Day

      Computer Science Student Takes on the Role as President of Widener

      President for a Day

      Michael Brant, ’17, takes on the role as President of Widener for the day.

      On April 11, Widener University was under the leadership of computer science student, Michael Brant, ’17, who was named President for a Day of the university. While Brant was busy taking on the role of president, Dr. Julie E. Wollman filled in as a student, and attended class in Brant's place.

      In its 15th year, President for a Day is a Widener tradition in which the president switches roles with a student for the day. Brant was selected from four finalists who interviewed with a selection committee on why they should be chosen as president. Watch the video of Dr. Wollman surprising Brant with his selection.

      According to Wollman, the President-for-a-Day initiative gives students hands-on leadership experience and an inside look at how a university operates. For her, it is an opportunity to see the university from an undergraduate student perspective and to engage the student population in an informal setting.

      Throughout the day, Brant addressed the need to bridge computer science and communication around campus.


      Student for a Day

      Dr. Julie E. Wollman learns more about Michael Brant’s computer science project.

      “The computer science department is doing amazing work,” Brant said. “I’m excited that Dr. Wollman had a chance to have an up-close and personal look at what we are working on this year.”

      Brant’s day was filled with meetings, just as the president’s would be. He met with Greg Potter, executive director of University Relations; Iva Ferrell, chief diversity officer; and Eric Behrens, chief information officer, to discuss his ideas and learn more about the different areas of the university. “Every conversation I had was so engaging,” Brant said. “I was really inspired by everyone I met.”

      As if his day wasn’t busy enough, Brant met with a potential donor, had a stewardship meeting with Sue Sears, a member of the Board of Trustees, and reviewed upcoming capital projects on campus.

      He shared his entire day through his Snapchat stories – from his commute to work to calling his mom from “his” office for the day in Old Main. Wollman also tweeted her day.

      While Brant was running the university, Wollman assumed Brant’s schedule. She met with his senior project team – Hana Mears and Kaitlyn Hitchcock and experienced their work with virtual reality technology. She went to his “Language and Cultures” class with Dr. Pat Dyer and she tabled in support of NO MORE week. She ate lunch in the café with a few of Brant’s friends and called university donors to thank them for their support, filling in for Brant on the Student Philanthropy Council.

      "It was a stimulating and fun day," President Wollman said. "Michael is involved in so many activities in the classroom and beyond. Assuming his role for the day provided me with a valuable look into the lives of our students. It is important to me that Widener provide a consistently excellent student experience. I enjoyed spending time with his friends and classmates, and I know when Michael graduates and begins his career he will be an outstanding example of the skilled and thoughtful leaders Widener develops."

      As their day wrapped up, Wollman jokingly asked Brant if he would like to continue on as president, as she really enjoyed her day as a student. Wollman, who was an undergraduate English major, even offered to assist with the paper for his student project.

      Brant looked forward to returning to his normal role. “I only have 38 more days as a Widener student and I have a lot I still want to do,” he said. Following graduation, Brant will begin a career working for Lockheed Martin.

      View photos of the day.

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