The Business Leadership Center at Virginia Tech is celebrating 20 years of educating students in leadership development.

The center will mark its anniversary with a rebranding project and a celebration in October. It also seeks to raise $20,000 for its programs.

Established in 1999, the center strives to provide students with the skills necessary to be a strong leader in their time at the university and beyond.

Leadership skills across disciplines

Housed within the Virginia Tech Department of Management, the center offers cross-disciplinary programs to students throughout the university. Through innovative academic courses, interactions with business professionals, and participation in leadership roles, students develop and hone leadership skills for working in organizations.

“While we’re proud of all that was accomplished in the past two decades, the center sees the 20th anniversary as an opportunity to look ahead,” said Kimberly Carlson, the center’s director. “Our goal is to grow and further enhance the experiences and skill sets of all students involved,” she said. “In keeping with this goal, the center hopes to build on its endowment to reach $20,000 within the year.”

Devi Gnyawali, department head of management, said that the center’s programs stimulate students’ thinking through classroom instruction, seminars, and workshops; foster students’ interactions with successful leaders and scholars; and provide opportunities for students to practice leadership.

Organizational leadership

Currently, about 350 total students are engaged with the center, including its business leadership minor, the Pamplin Leadership Academy, and the Pamplin leadership development team. The center will transition from focusing specifically on business leadership to organizational leadership, in an effort to help students be more successful in their careers.

Educators today are placing an increasing emphasis on technical and specialized skills, Carlson said, but students also need leadership skills and interpersonal proficiency. “Such skills are just as important.”