Widener Celebrates Honors Week and Voices of Leadership
The 2019 Honors Week included multiple special events around campus, highlighted by the eighth annual Voices of Leadership program. Widener and the Oskin Leadership Institute honored special guest Leanne Caret, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The evening celebrated the institute’s mission to inspire students to be strategic leaders and responsible citizens who possess the character, courage and competencies to affect positive change throughout the world.
Widener University President Julie E. Wollman was joined by business and civic leaders from the greater Philadelphia area, faculty, staff, alumni, and students for an engaging discussion, led by Oskin Leadership Institute Director Hal Shorey. Caret shared life lessons and thoughts on leadership during the talk with Shorey.
For the past three years, Caret has led the $23 billion Boeing Defense, Space & Security business that provides platforms and services to customers in the United States and around the world. Notably, she is the first woman to lead the world’s second-largest defense company. She has worked at Boeing for more than 30 years in a career that has taken her from Wichita to Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. working in various program management and leadership positions. She got her start in Kansas, getting her bachelor’s degree and MBA from Kansas State and Wichita State University, respectively. She is a former member of the Widener University Board of Trustees.
“We were honored to recognize Leanne Caret at our Voices of Leadership event. She is an outstanding example of a successful executive who is committed to the principles of strong, ethical leadership, and community engagement,” Wollman said. “She is a model for our students who are looking to pave their own paths to effective leadership by drawing on the courage, character and competencies they develop at Widener.”
Widener alumna Jessica Kowalski ’18, who works as an analyst for Boeing, presented Caret with the Widener Bugle, in acknowledgement of her answer to the call of leadership.
In addition, Honors Week featured student presentations and inductions into honor societies.
“Honors Week celebrates academic achievement across campus,” said Ilene Lieberman, director of the Honors Program in General Education and the Gabriel Lukas Professor of Fine Arts. “Students from a variety of disciplines participated during the week by presenting their research and attending a variety of special events, including honor society inductions, a faculty recital, and our Women's History Month lecture.”
The week began with the second performance in the Widener University Recital Series, featuring Artist in Residence John Vanore and Abstract Truth. It continued with Nazera Sadiq Wright, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, presenting on her book “Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century” for the Women’s History Month lecture.
Students also presented on various topics, ranging from nursing research conducted on supervised injection facilities to interdisciplinary robotics, engineering and biology research on a robotic feeding system for crayfish.
Kayla Nelson, a senior civil engineering major, presented about her summer research conducted with Associate Professor and Chair Ronald Mersky into the socio-economic factors that influence the quantity of waste produced in small island countries.
“It was a pleasure presenting during a week that celebrates the academic excellence of the university’s undergraduate population, especially as I approach the end of my collegiate career,” Nelson said.