LEAP (Leadership Experience and Preparation) is a leadership program for first-year students that began as a Commitment Project developed by a group of Levitt Leadership Institute participants. In 2013, five leadership students worked together with the Levitt Center and the Dean of Students Office to create a residential leadership program with the goal of fostering a culture of leadership on campus. LEAP included leadership training sessions, group activities and a group leadership project. The program also provided the first-year students with upperclassmen and upperclasswomen mentors to help them develop as campus leaders. All of LEAP’s programming aimed to help participants develop six key skills: self-awareness, organization, negotiation, active listening, public speaking and networking.

In fall 2014, Leadership Institute students led LEAP into a new phase as a class-based program. Sixteen first-year student participants took a philosophy class called The Pursuit of Happiness, which examined the roles of nature, nurture, leisure, work, faith, meaning, leadership, morality and more. Outside of the course, students participated in weekly lectures and activities and completed a public service project of their own design. As in the previous year, mentors helped to lead these activities and helped the participants develop self-awareness as leaders.

In its third successful year, LEAP entered a new phase as a quarter-credit class, which makes LEAP highly accessible to first-year students. In the second half of the spring semester, the LEAP class met for two hours every week. Class meetings were split between faculty speakers discussing leadership topics and student-led activities. Two LEAP alumni serve an essential role as student mentors and help the first-year participants to develop their leadership skills, build a peer network and get more involved on campus.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, LEAP returned to the model of partnering with a philosophy course in the fall, along with offering the 1/4-credit student-led model in the spring.  This model will continue for the 2018-2019 academic year.  

Please send any questions you may have to levitt@hamilton.edu.

LEAP Advisors
  • Chris Willemsen
  • Susan Mason


Office / Department Name

Levitt Center

Contact Name

Levitt Center

Office Location
Kirner-Johnson 251

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