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COBA’s Corporate Leadership Council holds inaugural meeting

Finding the perfect way to attract and retain high-achieving students is every college dean’s goal, and Ronald Shiffler, dean of the College of Business Administration (COBA) at Georgia Southern University, has found a way that seems to work.

Shiffler developed COBA’s Corporate Leadership Council, an elite group that brings students and corporate sponsors together four times each year to learn about the concept of leadership.

At the inaugural meeting of the council, held Friday, Aug. 25, State Senator Jack Hill, a military veteran, shared his thoughts on leadership with 34 students and their corporate sponsors. ‘Remember that values and integrity are timeless,” said Hill. ‘In trying times, your beliefs will help get you through anything.”

‘The idea for the Corporate Leadership Council came from two directions,” said Shiffler. ‘First, we want to retain freshman and sophomore business students, and we believe that membership on the Corporate Leadership Council will help keep them involved and interested.

‘Second, we want to develop a group of student ambassadors that will represent both COBA and Georgia Southern well. These students will be available to help at University events, at COBA events, and to interact with alumni and the community.”

Building the Council did take some work on Shiffler’s part. He began by securing contributions of $10,000 each from three companies, Wachovia, Watkins Real Estate, and UPS. Each of those contributions was divided into ten $1,000 scholarships, and those scholarships were used to attract high-achieving freshman students to business majors.

In addition, he used scholarship funds from COBA’s Carter Leadership endowment to fund four more scholarships. Those 34 scholarship recipients make up the student portion of the Corporate Leadership Council, and leaders from the three companies comprise the corporate portion.

‘I came to Georgia Southern for Scholars’ Day last year,” said Courtney Samuels, a freshman accounting major from Norcross. ‘I heard about the Corporate Leadership Council, and it sounded good, so I went for an interview and ended up with a scholarship.”

To remain a member of the Corporate Leadership Council, students must remain a business major, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and provide service for a COBA activity or event.
Additional meetings of the Council are planned for Oct. 6, when representatives from Wachovia will speak; Feb.9, when representatives from Watkins Real Estate will speak; and Mar. 30, when a representative from UPS will speak.

Shiffler knows his work is not over, because he will need to enlist companies to give next year’s scholarships. But with the first Corporate Leadership Council meeting complete, it’s clear that both students and corporate sponsors are pleased with the initial result.

To learn more about the Corporate Leadership Council and the scholarship program, call the COBA Dean’s Office at 912-681-5106.

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