Students from the University of Houston attended an on-campus Marine Corps Leadership Seminar Sept. 21-22. The seminar focused on developing leadership and how it can be applied and built upon through service in the Marine Corps.
It is more important than ever that the best of the best are recruited and trained to lead the way in the future of the Corps as the service faces budgetary cut-backs in personnel, said Dr. Kenneth D. Dunn, a retired Marine colonel and director of the seminar.
“Instead of always looking at the Naval Academy or universities like that, we can go to other universities ... every young woman and young man deserves to know what opportunities are available to him or her,” Dunn said.
The seminar started with a reception and guest speaker Army Brigadier Gen. Barrye L. Price, a distinguished graduate from the university.
“Leaders set the example from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet,” Price said. “Leaders never accept defeat. It is great to see the next generation of leaders and ambassadors from this university. Whether you wear the cloth of our nation or are a faculty member, administrator or a student, immaterial of what you are, life asks us to lead.”
While students were the primary focus of the seminar, speakers also pointed their words towards faculty members, who often play significant roles in students’ lives and the direction in which they take their degrees.
“Leadership development is something that we are all interested in,” said Dr. Richard Walker, the university vice president of student affairs. “We want to make sure our students are exposed to leadership opportunities both in the classroom and out of it, so we were very excited to welcome this program here.”
The University of Houston has the second-most diverse student body in the nation, according to university officials.
“We are here at the University of Houston because it has a tremendously diverse student population. We want to talk to them about Marine Corps leadership and try to extract the top talent to come into the Marine Corps,” Dunn said, in a speech addressing students and faculty.
Throughout the seminar, Marines talked to the students about what it means to be a Marine, how to be a strong leader and what it takes to make tough decisions - demonstrating exercises tackled and lessons learned by Marine officers when they attend Officer Candidate School.
One of the examples discussed was from Air Force Col. John Boyd, a pilot who served from 1945 to 1975 and came up with the ‘OODA Loop concept, a concept cycling observation, orientation, decision and action, quickly to make a decision before the enemy.
“I thought it was a great seminar,” said Vincent Sullivan, a student at the university. “It’s pretty well known in the military and civilian-wide that the Marine Corps preaches leadership. Everybody needs to be a better leader so who better to learn from [than] Marines.”
The students had the opportunity to speak with Marines from various military occupational specialties, from combat engineers to logistics, enlisted and officer, active and retired, all with the same message: ‘The Marine Corps will give you what you need to be a leader.’
“I grew up in the projects and I have a doctorate in education,” Dunn said. “I get to travel all over telling students about Marine Corps Leadership. That’s what’s great about this country. I firmly believe that no matter where we are, no matter where we take the seminar, somebody out there in the audience is looking for that message. They may be ready for it today, or maybe in a year from now. There are folks out there looking for this message, and when they hear it, they’ll march to the sound of the drums.”