Leadership Studies Travel to Four States in Presidents Class
Last weekend and during fall break, Leadership Studies students traveled to presidential libraries, homes, and museums in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas. Before the trips, the class studied the presidencies and issues faced by the United States’ first four atomic-age presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. Each student was assigned a topic to research and a chapter to write for a book the students are compiling.
“It was a wonderful and educational trip,” said Dr. Coleman Patterson, director of leadership studies. “When people at the places we visited learned what we were doing, the common responses were ‘things like this weren’t offered to me in college’ and ‘how do I sign up to join you?’ … Ours is a special program that is offering our students exceptional learning opportunities.”
The fall break trip began with a trip to Independence, Missouri where the class visited the Truman Library and Museum and the Truman House. The group also traveled to the Kansas Capitol and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.
“I had never been to presidential libraries before, so getting to experience that was super interesting,” said Strategic Communication major Julianne House ’21.
The students also visited Abilene, Kansas. There, they toured the Eisenhower Library and House.
At the Abilene Visitor Center, they saw the Abilene, Texas to Abilene, Kansas Friendship Ride plaque that they had taken to the Abilene, Kansas mayor’s office during their 2016 bike ride to Canada. The plaque recognized Abilene, Kansas “whose name was chosen for our great city and whose rich legacy of cattle and frontier spirit we continue to share.”
In Oklahoma City, the group visited the capitol and Oklahoma City National Memorial. They also had the opportunity to act as extras in a film being shot at the Oklahoma Historical Society Building. The group returned to Texas to visit Dealey Plaza, the John F. Kennedy Memorial, and the Sixth Floor Museum.
“My favorite part was going to the Sixth Floor Museum because it hit so close to home and I hadn’t learned about it,” House said “Seeing everything in person was super cool.”
They continued their class last weekend with a trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Museum, and Ranch in Austin and Stonewall, Texas.
“Getting to see a Texas president and all that he did was interesting,” House said. “I got to see a lot of tangible pieces, actual objects presidents used in their lives. In every presidential library, they had built a replica of what their actual office looked like. Because they got to design their own office, their personality came through in their decorations.”
To see a video of both trips, click here.
Travel is not the only recent Leadership Studies activity. On Nov. 3, Leadership Studies students hosted the 2nd annual Texas Crisis Simulation, featuring three topics: Parks and Recreation, Prohibition, and the Code Black (hospital administration). Forty college students used teamwork skills to solve potential disaster situations as community leaders.
House participated in the Texas Crisis Simulation and enjoyed traveling to Vienna with the Leadership Studies program last summer.
“If someone looks at your resumé and sees you’re a leadership minor, you’re automatically bumped up,” House said. “I think the Leadership program rounds you out as a person and challenges you to go beyond the classroom. The program gives you real-world experiences and provides networking and travel opportunities.”