After more than 20 years of leadership development programing, the MSU Leadership Institute has a long history of bringing inspirational speakers, films, and trainings to the MSU community. Our programs are so much more than mere lectures or trainings. We aim to make each one different and engaging in new and exciting ways. At our programs, participants will find new perspectives and insight into what it is to be a leader.  

2018

MSU Leadership Summit

MSU Leadership Summit: Charge your Passion, Empower your Ideas.

An empowering and re-energizing weekend filled with challenging outdoor activities including a zip line and a ropes course, inspiration and workshops from two amazing speakers, and opportunities to network and befriend fellow MSU students and members of our community - all while participants had the opportunity to build useful leadership skills! 

Dr. Paul Farmer

Dr. Paul Farmer

On January 31, the MSU Leadership Institute hosted global health expert Dr. Paul Farmer. As a world-renowned academic and anthropologist, Farmer’s research into cultural development and medical care has contributed dramatically to understanding the intricate challenges of meeting various needs of people all over the world. 

Paul Farmer - Bending the Arc

Annual Film Series: “Bending the Arc” (2017)

“Bending the Arc” (2017) is a powerful film that portrays the importance of service-driven leadership, especially in the world of global health care. The documentary is about a team of young students—Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim and Ophelia Dahl—whose charitable medical work 30 years ago ignited a global health movement.

Conrad Anker

Leadership Summit: Sustain Today. Save Tomorrow

The 2018 annual Leadership Summit was an opportunity for MSU students to bridge academic disciplines and engage with individuals who share a passion for sustainability and leadership. Conrad Anker, leader of the North Face Climbing Team, rock climber, mountaineer, and author will be the keynote speaker. The focus of the summit was for attendees to leave with strong, forward thinking projects that they could put into action in the Bozeman community.

Life Animated

Annual Film Series: “Life Animated” (2016)

"Life, Animated" (2016) is an emotional coming-of-age story that follows Owen Suskind, a young autistic man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. The inspirational film follows Owen as he moves into to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.

Hacksaw Ridge

Annual Film Series: “Hacksaw Ridge” (2016)

Directed by Mel Gibson, the film is based on the 2004 documentary, “The Conscientious Objector.” It focuses on the true story of World War II combat medic, Desmond Doss. Doss became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot after saving 75 men in Okinawa, during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII.

Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story

Annual Film Series: “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story” (2017)

This film chronicles the journey of Eduardo Garcia, a chef to celebrities and outdoorsman whose life nearly ended in 2011 when he was shocked by 2,400 volts of electricity after touching the carcass of a dead bear with the tip of his knife while hiking in the backcountry of Paradise Valley. Garcia lost his hand, ribs and muscle mass and was airlifted to a burn center in Utah. Through sheer resilience, and with the help of his former partner, Jennifer Jane, Garcia gained back his health only to learn that he had another battle, this one with cancer. The film recounts Garcia’s learning to embrace his past, his family and his future.

2017

Kent Davis

Improv Night: An evening of energy and excitement, where humor spurs new personal insights!

In October 2017, the Leadership Institute led members of the MSU community in a fast-paced, fun-packed evening of improv. Led by author and professor Kent Davis, attendees laughed their way through the depths of leadership, communication, and teambuilding.
Carmen McSpadden

Finding Balance: Maintaining Momentum in a Busy World

Carmen McSpadden and VIP Panelists led an interactive workshop designed to empower those who attended to develop tools to manage their priorities, goals and time. Through a variety of personal stories, activities and breakout groups, attendees learned to say YES to what energizes them!
JimmyChinandConradAnker

Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin: An Evening with Mountaineer Legends

On March 27, 2017 MSU students had the chance to listen to mountaineer legends Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin. Proceeds from this event went to benefit the Khumbu Climbing Center located in Nepal. View more information about this event here.
GEC 2017

Gender Equality and YOU: A Conference to Create, Foster and Catalyze

A gender equality conference took place on Saturday, March 25, 2017 in the MSU Strand Union Building Ballrooms. "Gender Equality and You: A Conference to Create, Foster and Catalyze" included panelists who were experts in the areas of gender in athletics, gender in politics, men and masculinity, intersectional feminism and bias recognition. Organizers said the conference goal was for attendees to leave with the tools to build strong, inclusive communities that are sensitive to the needs of all gender and sexual identities.
Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson, the British expert on creativity and innovation who is the most-watched speaker in the TED Talk video series throughout the world, spoke at Montana State University on February 8, 2017.  Throughout his work, Robinson pushes people to rethink outdated assumptions about intelligence, education and creativity, and to unleash the real potential of people and organizations.

2016

Kelly Matheson
Human rights attorney and award-winning filmmaker Kelly Matheson spoke about her experiences exposing human rights abuses through film to the MSU community on March 8, 2016. As a filmmaker, attorney, and head of the Video as Evidence program under the international organization called WITNESS, Kelly Matheson teaches activists worldwide the filmmaking skills necessary to preserve their work as admissible evidence in courts of law. An Alumni of MSU’s College of Film and Photography, Matheson has taken this knowledge to work on a wide range of human rights issues ranging from Ebola prevention to climate change to the trafficking of children and war crimes.
David Parker

Your Vote, Your Voice, Your Future: The Power of the Voter in 2016

Students and representatives from both major parties participated in “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Future: The Power of the Voter in 2016," a pre-election debate focusing on the Nov. 8 presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections. Montana State University political science professor David Parker moderated the panel discussion.
Irshad Manji
Author Irshad Manji is the Director of the Moral Courage Project, dedicated to equipping people with the ability to make decisions without compromising their integrity. Irshad Manji seeks to encourage and empower people of all faiths and backgrounds to stand up to abuse, even in the face of fear. Known for her best-selling books, including Allah, Liberty, and Love and Trouble with Islam Today, Manji’s writing focuses on empowering individuals to question and make choices in the face of fear and adversity.
Leadership Summit: Mission Impossible

Leadership Summit: Mission Impossible

The Leadership Summit held on September 23-24 was a weekend packed full of intrigue, excitement, betrayal, turmoil and thrill. Specially designed for students, the MSU Leadership Summit 2.0 was an overnight retreat focused on an activity-centered learning environment that includes area such as team dynamics, decision making, and playing to one’s strengths. Summit 2.0 provided participants with a chance to explore leadership in a whole new fashion. From the time students stepped off the bus at the “undisclosed” outstanding location, their leadership skills were put to the test and competed to determine which teams were the Ultimate Survivors.
Lead Courageously Workshop

Lead Courageously: What does it require of you?

The Lead Courageously workshop focused on learning what it takes to communicate when you do not have all the answers and how to make decisions to move ahead. Conducting the workshop was Carmen McSpadden, Director of the MSU Leadership Institute. McSpadden was joined by panelists Liz Ann Kudrna, triathlete and entrepreneurial founder of “Body in Balance” Pilates studio and Ryan Erickson, graduate assistant for LGBTQ Student Support in the MSU Diversity Awareness Office. Kudrna and Erickson shared their personal stories of courage and perseverance.

2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and one of the most recognized science communicators in America today. On March 4, on his first visit to Montana, he gave an evening lecture at Montana State University. The sold-out event — the largest audience Tyson has addressed in person — was hosted by the MSU Leadership Institute.
Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot is the award-winning author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. On August 26th, Skloot spoke and engaged in an interactive panel Q&A session for Freshman Convocation.
Alex Sheen

Alex Sheen

Alex Sheen has promises to keep. In fact, since he launched because I said I would, an international social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises, he has had a part in 3.15 million promises kept in 150 countries. Sheen, a gifted speaker and a master at using social media for positive impact, spoke to a sold-out crowd in the Fall of 2015. He has appeared on CNN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox News, CBS Nightly News and many other programs. Sheen’s efforts in social media were featured in BuzzFeed’s “Most Important Viral Videos of 2013.” His posts have made the number one spot on the front page of Reddit.com more than 10 times.
MLK Portrait

A Dialogue with “Americans Who Tell the Truth” Artist: MLK Master Class

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, MSU welcomed peace advocate and artist Robert Shetterly. Shetterly is best known for his exhibit, Americans Who Tell the Trutha series of portraits honoring the words and work of courageous Americans throughout history. He was inspired by the courageous spirit of American heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Henry David Thoreau, Mother Jones, and many notable others. 

Renew You

Leadership Summit: Renew You

The Spring 2015 Leadership Summit was a unique experience that provided students with an opportunity to get away from the stress of everyday life and rediscover your passion and inspiration. Participants were challenged to take an introspective look into their personal leadership style and gained a deeper understanding of self and their driving motivations.

 

2014

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Dr. Michael McFaul

Dr. Michael McFaul served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation until February 2014. The former ambassador shared his expertise on the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Crimea. He discussed the widespread economic and foreign policy implications of this conflict, including the the effect of sanctions, the impact of war in Syria and the Iran nuclear talks.
Paula Kerger

President of PBS: Paula Kerger

Paula Kerger is President and CEO of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country. Often considered one of television’s most powerful women, Kerger has ushered in over 60 Emmys to the station since taking over in 2006. She visited MSU on the 18th of October and gave a rousing speech to the MSU community.

Outdoor Leading, Upward Thinking

Leadership Summit: Outdoor Leading, Upward Thinking

The 2014 Leadership Summit provided time for leadership vision activities so that students could think deeply about how their personal vision may also support the greater good. Students will gain an understanding about how to work with diverse teams to solve complex challenges and to be more thoughtful and more durable leaders by learning how to tap into their own excellence as well as the excellence of others.

Shiza

Shiza Shahid

 As founder/CEO of the Malala Fund, Ms. Shahid hosted a Master Class which discussed topics broached in the international best seller "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban."  Ms. Shahid also delivered a thought-provoking speech as the keynote speaker at Fall Convocation. 
Willy Oppenheim

Willy Oppenheim

William Oppenheim, Founder and Director of Omprakash, spoke about his experiences as a scholar, humanitarian, and philanthropist. His lecture explores the critical perspectives on international volunteering and the complex dynamics that underlie any effort to “do good” and “help others.”

2013

Yann Martel

Yann Martel

Yann Martel, author of award winning novel of “Life of Pi”, spoke at the 2013 MSU Convocation. Martel is the author of 6 works of fiction, and the recipient of numerous awards including the Man Booker Prize, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, The MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and the Journey Prize. His most famous work, “Life of Pi”, has sold over 7 million copies in 46 countries, with continued success when it was adapted to film in 2011 by director Ang Lee, garnering 11 Academy Award Nominations.

Myrone Rolle

Myron Rolle

Former NFL player and lauded Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle spoke about his experiences as a student, philanthropist, humanitarian, and athlete in his lecture to MSU students and community. Following the 2008 regular season, the FSU coaching staff presented Rolle with the Bill McGrotha/Spirit Humanitarian Award. He also won The Touchdown Club of Columbus Male Athlete of the Year and was a finalist for the Lott trophy, awarded to the Top Defensive Player in the Country. One of his greatest athletic accomplishments came when the Tennessee Titans selected him during the 2010 NFL Draft.
Charles Best

Charles Best

Charles Best was an elementary educator who, after teaching in the inner city Bronx for five years, decided that current models of philanthropy in education were simply not getting the job done. His passion to decrease national disparity in classroom tools and funding led him to create his own grassroots company, DonorsChoose, which in 2013 was one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative New Companies.

 

2012

 

 

Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Dr. Condoleezza Rice

On September 5, former US Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice addressed an audience of 8000  at Freshman Convocation. Rice served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. Dr. Rice is the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, based at Stanford and a professor of political science. Her second memoir, "No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington," talks about her years as Secretary of State. 

Clark

General Wesley K. Clark

On March 5th, retired general Wesley K. Clark gave an inspirational speech to a packed audience. He spoke at length on economics and foreign policy that will have adverse effects on our Nation. Clark also shared with MSU his vision for the future of America and what he believes we must do to maintain a strategic position on the world stage well into the 21st century.

Girardet

Edward Girardet

On April 17th journalist, international journalist and producer Edward Girardet gave a multimedia presentation and lecture on conflict zones in the Middle East and why they are so often misunderstood. Girardet has reported from numerous humanitarian and conflict zones in Africa, Asia and elsewhere since the late 1970s. As a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour based in Paris, he first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Explore

 National Geographic

MSU played host to a free public presentation on field research and exploration featuring National Geographic Society Vice President of Research, Conservation and Exploration John Francis; Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay; and renowned alpinist and The North Face athlete Conrad Anker. This event was part of a stop of on National Geographic’s Young Explorer Grant Writing Workshop tour.

 
 

2011

Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou gave an inspirational lecture to a packed audience in the MSU Fieldhouse. President Waded Cruzado awarded Dr. Angelou with the Presidential Medal for Freedom. Her speech revolved around issues of human rights, poetry, the power of believing in one's self, and the ability all of us have to affect positive social change.

Aron Ralston

Aron Ralston

In 2003, Ralston was descending a remote Utah canyon alone when a half-ton boulder broke loose, crushing his right hand and pinning him against the canyon wall. Ralston barely escaped by severing his arm below the elbow, rappelling a 65-foot cliff out of the canyon, and trekking seven miles to find his would-be rescuers.

Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw

Author and journalist, Tom Brokaw has been the face of national and international news for the past 20 years. Anchor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, Brokaw interviewed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Mikhail Gorbachev, including every U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson. In addition, Brokaw was NBC’s White House correspondent during the Watergate scandal and reported from the Berlin Wall during its fall. Brokaw is a native of South Dakota and frequents Livingston, Montana.

2010

Connolly

Kevin Michael Connolly

Kevin Michael Connolly has been an object of curiosity since the day he was born without legs. He was a 2008 MSU Media and Theatre Arts graduate and in an attempt to capture the stares of others, Connolly traveled to 17 countries on his skateboard and took over 30,000 photographs of people gaping at him. Connolly gave an inspirational and humorous welcome to MSU freshman about his strikingly candid memoir, Double Take.

Bellman Book

Geoff Bellman

Geoff Bellman worked inside major corporations for 14 years before starting his own consulting firm in 1977. His external consulting has focused on renewing large, mature corporations such as Boeing, Booz Allen & Hamilton, U.S. Bancorp, and Verizon. Guests of the lecture explored their own group experiences to identify personal needs and passions and, in turn, transform an ordinary team into an extraordinary group.

David Orr

David Orr

Orr is the "Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics" at Oberlin College and "James Marsh Professor at Large" for the University of Vermont. He is best known for his pioneering campaign to promote environmental literacy in higher education and his recent work in ecological design. On his home campus at Oberlin College, Professor Orr led the effort to design and build the first substantially green college building in the United States.

Tobacco

Tobacco Free- What is Best for Montana State University

"Tobacco Free – What is Best for Montana State University?" answered timely questions such as: “Will a tobacco ban hurt MSU's enrollment?” “Doesn't a tobacco ban restrict my rights?” “MSU currently has a smoking policy, why institute an additional policy?” The discussion explored both sides of this important issue at Montana State University, which could potentially affect students, staff, faculty, and even community members. Also investigated throughout the discussion were issues surrounding the purpose of a tobacco-free policy, enforcement of the policy, financial impacts, health benefits, and the current policy in place at Montana State University.

2009

Steve Lopez

Steve Lopez

Steve Lopez, award-winning Los Angeles Times columnist and author of "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, An Unlikely Friendship, and The Redemptive Power of Music," welcomed back students at the start of the fall semester, with the 2009 MSU Convocation. Lopez discussed the topic of his book; Nathaniel Ayers, a talented violinist and homeless man who suffers from schizophrenia. 

Dr. Sharon Parks

Dr. Sharon Parks

Dr. Sharon Daloz Parks greeted an audience with a large representation of MSU student groups during her talk “Calling Forth a New Kind of Leadership”. Parks challenged the traditional thought that leadership skills are an innate gift, with which only some individuals are blessed. 

Kristof

Nicholas Kristoff

More than just a two time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, and author of the recently published book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women World Wide”, humanitarian Nicholas Kristof presented a moving presentation about the treatment of women in developing countries. 

The Endless Knot

Annual Film Series: “The Endless Knot” (2007)

World renowned alpinist Conrad Anker and author Jennifer Lowe-Anker discussed their life story, as well as introduced adventure filmmaker Michael Brown at the Bozeman premier of his award-winning documentary, “The Endless Knot”. Brown's 57-minute film “The Endless Knot” chronicles the friendship of two men, the love of family, overcoming survivor's guilt and helping others to avoid a similar fate.

2008

Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall

In Spring 2008, Dr. Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian, addressed current work at the Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania, where research into our closest relative-the chimpanzee-has been ongoing since 1960. As a United Nations Messenger of Peace, Dr. Goodall addressed her reasons for hope in these complex times and ways in which every individual can make a difference every day.

Leadership Summit 2008

Leadership Summit: How will YOU make the world better?

This year’s Leadership Summit set out to jump-start citizen activism and advocacy by providing leaders the tools, training, and connections necessary to act on their passions, champion causes, generate solutions, and see real change in the world.

Ebadi

 Shirin Ebadi

An Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her significant and pioneering efforts in democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children. She is the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the prize. In her research, and as an activist, she is known for promoting peaceful, democratic solutions to serious problems in society. 

2007

Timothy Flannery

Tim Flannery

Internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist Tim Flannery spoke to an audience of over 900 students and community members. He presented a straightforward and powerful explanation of the connection between climate change and human activity. He spoke to his listeners, both personally and politically, about the recognition that we are all "weather makers" and that the only logical and ethical choice is to begin to address the problem before it's too late.

Improv Workshop

Leadership Improv Workshop

This improv workshop revolved around games and techniques which focus on jump-starting imagination and bringing out important soft skills needed for communication, interviewing, public speaking and more. Offering expert instruction, Kent Davis balanced technical excellence and fun in this exciting program.

2006

Rusesabagina

Paul Rusesabagina

Real life hero of the film “Hotel Rwanda” (2004) Paul Rusesabagina spoke to the MSU community. When Rwanda descended into madness, this one man made a promise to protect the family he loved -and ended up saving over 1200 people as a hotel manager in Rwanda. Over the course of 100 days, nearly one million people were killed in Rwanda. Rusesabagina spoke about his personal experience, his ongoing support of Rwanda, the genocide in Darfur and current issues in international humanitarian aid.

Kamler_Surviving the Extremes

Dr. Ken Kamler

In his multimedia presentation, Dr. Ken Kamler discussed what happens when human bodies are pushed to their limits. By exploring the human body's reactions to heat, cold, pressure, starvation, exhaustion and exposure, he revealed the body's miraculous survival strategies. His lecture took the audience on a scientific nail-biter that goes beyond "reality" TV and proves what survival really entails.