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Students from Across the Midwest to Participate in Washburn Leadership Institute Leadership Challenge Event March 2 and 3

02/22/17 02:02 pm CST
"These students gain experience they can apply as they take on leadership roles in their schools and communities."

     Topeka, Kan.—The Washburn University Leadership Institute will host a record-number 33 high school and college teams for the 2017 Leadership Challenge EventTM (LCETM) March 2 and 3. This is the seventh annual LCE the Leadership Institute has hosted.

     The LCE simulates the real-world process of leadership through a two-day event consisting of a live, interactive leadership simulation. Student teams compete to fulfill the challenges and overcome the obstacles placed before them in a manner that demonstrates exemplary leadership knowledge and execution.

     “This truly unique event brings high school and college students together for an immersion leadership development experience that puts their leadership and presentation skills to the test in a simulation competition,” said Dr. Michael Gleason, director of the Washburn Leadership Institute. “These students gain experience they can apply as they take on leadership roles in their schools and communities.”

     During the first day, March 2, students will hear from many influential speakers from the Topeka area. Zach Haney and Andrea Engstrom from ActionCOACH, Ron Brown, chief of police for Topeka public schools, and Dr. Eric Grospitch, Washburn University vice president of student life, and Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, director of university diversity and inclusion, will share information ranging from diversity to leadership in a team setting. Thursday night will conclude with a keynote address by Earl Kemper, Master Coach with ActionCOACH Business Coaching. This year, students will also receive formal training in Incident Command Structure, and will receive a certificate after this training.

     The leadership simulation will start at 8:00 a.m. Friday, March 3 at the Maner Conference Center at the Topeka Capital Plaza. Students will participate in planning and strategy meetings, written tasks, and individual and team leadership decisions. During this time, they will interact with volunteers role-playing as members of “Central Kansas County.” The simulation encompasses three rounds, all observed by judges who score participants’ leadership acumen on a variety of metrics, including a group presentation defending all their decisions at the conclusion of the exercises. The event concludes with an awards ceremony beginning at 3:45 p.m. in ExpoCentre Heritage Hall. This ceremony is open to the public.

    As with any event this size, volunteers and sponsor dollars are essential. This year, the LCE has broken past records, with 180 individuals from the Shawnee County and Washburn communities volunteering to make the event a success. Moreover, the students in the Leadership Institute have raised more than $36,000 in sponsorship to fund the LCE. Title sponsors include the Capitol Federal® Foundation and Westar Energy.

     “I am so excited to have such an unprecedented amount of help from the Washburn and Topeka community for this year’s Challenge Event,” said Sarah Edelman, Leadership Challenge Event Student Fellow. “As Fellow, it truly makes me feel supported by my community and confident that we can make this year’s LCE the best one yet.”


 Editor’s Notes:

 Title Sponsors:

Capitol Federal® Foundation

Westar Energy


Advisors Excel

Angela and RJ Dake

Azura Credit Union

BA Designs 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

BNSF Railway Company

Clark and Susan Duffy

Flint Hills Community Health Center

Heartland Visioning 

J.F. McGivern, Inc.

Leadership Institute Class of 2010

Leadership Washburn

Pleasant Hill Animal Hospital

Ron and Margaret Brown

Security Benefit

Shea and Lindsey Kirsop 

The Craig Group, Inc.

The Robb Company

Topeka Community Foundation

Tower Metal Works Inc.  

Topeka Metro

UMB Bank 

United Way of Greater Topeka

Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation

Washburn University Career Services

Washburn University College of Arts & Sciences

Washburn University First-Year Experience (FYE) 

Washburn University School of Business

Washburn University - Student Activities & Greek Life 

Washburn University Student Recreation and Wellness Center

Washburn University Student Life

Washburn University Transformational Experience


In-Kind Sponsors:

Dunkin’ Donuts

Small Cakes

Starbucks Coffee, 1223 SW Wanamaker

Starbucks Coffee, 3020 SW Wanamaker

Sunflower Marketing

Washburn Memorial Union and Washburn Dining

Western Associates, Inc.

Westside Stamp and Awards, Inc.



Content Sponsor:

Kansas Department of Health & Environment

Washburn Institute of Technology/KanTRAIN

Media Sponsor:


College Participants:

Fort Hays State University

Kansas State University

Metropolitan Community College- Maple Woods

Southwestern College (2 teams)

Union College

University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2 teams)


High School Participants:

Chase High School

Derby High School

Emporia High School

Highland Park High School

Louisburg High School

Omaha Westside High School (2 teams)

Piper High School

Rossville High School

Sabetha High School

Seaman High School (2 teams)

Shawnee Heights High School

Topeka High School

Topeka West High School

Washburn Rural High School (2 teams)

Wellington High School (2 teams)

Wichita East High School (2 teams)

Wichita High School North

Wichita High School South

Wichita Northwest High School

Wichita West High School



Washburn University
Joy Bailes, (785) 670-2153
Assistant Director of University Relations
(785) 230-1648 (cell)

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