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Presidential Scholars Leadership Program inaugurates 60, including local veteran advocate

Rally leader Presidential scholar

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Imagine a leadership program in which scholars interact with presidents, key administration officials and academics. The scholars travel to participating presidential centers and pore through archives of knowledge to complete case studies of key leadership principles.  They synthesize this information with a diverse group of peers from a variety of vocational contexts: academia, the military, the nonprofit sector and corporate sector.  Scholars then integrate this information in their vocations toward achieving a greater good for the Nation.

An actual program like this exists:  It's called the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, and Anne Sprute, chief executive officer of the Lakewood nonprofit Rally Point 6, recently graduated as part of its inaugural class of 60 students

"I knew that the program would be unlike any other not only because of the unique curriculum, but because of the sheer talent and diversity and the experience of the scholars themselves," said Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala during the July 9 graduation ceremonies. "These are people who have already been transformational leaders in their field."

Over 3,000 individuals started the application process last fall for selection into the program - the applications were narrowed down to 120.  Sprute was selected as one of the 120 remaining applicants for an interview December 17, and was notified December 23 she was selected as one of the first 60 in the inaugural class.  

The scholars traveled to many Presidential libraries starting with Mount Vernon, our first President's home.  Each location they were involved with case studies about each of the Presidents.  The libraries involved were the William J. Clinton Library, George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.  The scholars will be traveling as Alumni to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in the coming year.

Sprute was particularly honored by the access the Scholars had to meeting the Presidents and their Senior Administration staff such as, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary Alexis Herman, Special Counsel to LBJ Larry Temple, Fred McClure Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs for Presidents Reagan and Bush, and many more amazing leaders.  The Scholars were exposed to rare behind the scenes moments of paramount decisions made by each of the Presidents.  Each of these modules provided a personal perspective to the principle of influence and persuasion the Presidents used when making hard decisions.

"While this program is historic, the lessons of leadership are timeless," said Larry Temple, chairman of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, during comments to Sprute and her graduating peers at their graduation ceremony, adding, "at the Clinton Presidential Library, you examined the leadership principles of vision and communication.  At the George W. Bush Presidential Center, you heard firsthand about the leadership principle of decision making.  At the LBJ Library, you were exposed to leadership examples of the application of influence and persuasion, albeit sometimes colorfully."

Of her experience, Sprute says, "It was an incredible opportunity and an honor to be selected." Of the curriculum, she notes, "it was intriguing to learn how decisions were made at the highest levels.  The most relevant lesson of decision making, persuasion and influence that I will always keep perspective of: "it's the ability to find common ground through really difficult decisions for the greater good of all."

The application process is open to become part of the next class. For more information, visit

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