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UC’s Hutton Leadership Program celebrates 15 years


Williamsburg, Ky. - This year, University of the Cumberlands (UC) is celebrating the 15th year anniversary of its Hutton Leadership Program. Since its establishment in the fall of 1997, the program has awarded 3,459 degrees. Collectively, the students who have gone through the program have served a total of 536,800.75 hours of community service, and of those students, 1,128 have been named Hutton Scholars, the programs highest recognition. Currently, 33 percent of UC graduates are named Hutton Scholars each year.

When considering these numbers based on a 40-hour work week, students have served over 220 years of community service with a total value (calculated at minimum wage) of $3,891,805.40. The Hutton Leadership program has earned a value of $11,192,295 based on the corporation for national and community service’s volunteer wage, set at $20.85 per hour. Vice President for Student Services, Dr. Michael Colegrove, considers the UC students’ service to be remarkably beneficial for the local community.

“A good portion of the hours are performed in our own community through Mountain Outreach and Appalachian Ministries and various other things that students get involved in,” Colegrove said; “Some students go back and serve in their home communities, but a lot of [the hours] are done right here in the local community.”

The Hutton Leadership Program was founded in 1997 and named after the late Dr. Edward L. Hutton. Hutton was well-established in business and became known worldwide for his commendable leadership abilities. He supported the leadership program from the time of its establishment, strongly advocating UC’s efforts in providing practical training for students. Colegrove believes the program continues to offer students useful skills that they will need later in their careers.

“We felt that our students needed the experience,” Colegrove said; “A lot of employers were reporting back on a broad scale that students, in general, were coming to them without the necessary skills to assume leadership positions. Of course, while some students might be uncomfortable with this thought, when you come to school and earn a four year degree, it’s almost with the expectation that you will be going into some kind of leadership position. So I think the program helps give our students a certain advantage.”

The Hutton Leadership Program is unique from other university community service programs in that it provides students with both leadership training and community service opportunities. Students begin the four-part program as freshman with UC’s Insights course. In the second phase of the program, students go through a leadership seminar, after which they begin their community service hours. UC students are required to meet 40 hours of community service in order to graduate; this requirement makes up the third part of the leadership program. In the final phase of the program, students are named Hutton Scholars. In order to earn this achievement, students must work a minimum of 200 community service hours during their undergraduate years at UC.

Initially, UC administrators hoped that 25 percent of graduates would be named Hutton Scholars each year. They set this goal as the measure of the program’s success, yet almost every year this percentage has exceeded their expectations.

“We set that as kind of a bench mark for our success…in this environment here at [UC], with so many opportunities for students to serve, we surpassed that goal. So it’s worked out quite will for us, I think we’re seeing results of our students really going out and doing some significant things in the realm of service,” Colegrove said.

Colegrove also upholds that the Hutton Leadership Program benefits UC students as they look for jobs after graduation.

“This [program] has been a plus for our students as they go out and seek jobs because perspective employers see that they’ve had leadership training. They also see that they’ve had an opportunity for community service. While [community service] is a little more wide spread among other schools than leadership training, for our students to combine the two together, it has really been beneficial for many students as they seek employment,” Colegrove said.

However, UC’s Hutton Leadership Program affects more than the requirements and advantages. The program was established with the hope that students would continue giving back to their communities.

“You can have a lot of requirements for graduation, but we feel like this is one that will serve our graduates well throughout their lives and will certainly add a lot of value to the communities in which they live,” Colegrove said.

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.

Article Provided by Kristin Gotch, University of the Cumberlands Multimedia & Athletic Services Summer Assistant