At the 2017 Conclave, SigEp brothers and friends committed more than $250,000 to establish and endow the Shawn McKenna Presidents Academy. Named for late National Director and Order of the Golden Heart recipient Shawn McKenna, Maine ’77, this program provides education and support to new chapter presidents. At the 2018 Carlson Leadership Academies, SigEp welcomed the inaugural Shawn McKenna Presidents Academy.
McKenna, who lost a prolonged battle with cancer in June 2017, was a lifelong advocate of leadership education. He was the author of a course on leadership and taught at the University of Maine. The Shawn McKenna Presidents Academy is based on the same leadership philosophy that influenced his university curriculum, a successful career in business and decades of volunteer leadership in SigEp.
“The Shawn McKenna Presidents Academy offers a transformational change opportunity at the chapter leadership level,” said facilitator Shawn Dalgleish, Illinois ’81.
“These young men are learning to be types of leaders our society needs — men like Shawn McKenna,” said facilitator Kyle Arganbright, Nebraska ’04.
In addition to updated curriculum for chapter presidents, the Shawn McKenna Presidents Academy also brought some of SigEp’s most successful business leaders to Carlson. Throughout the program season, five alumni came to speak to all attendees about lessons in leadership, their business successes and how SigEp helped along the way:
- Keith Bruce, Illinois ’87 — President, QuintEvents International and former CEO of Super Bowl 50
- Jay Hurt, Davidson ’88 — President and CEO, The Hurt Company, Inc.
- Eric Lauterbach, California-Santa Barbara ’89 — President, Consumer Division, Peet’s Coffee & Tea
- Pat Lawler, Memphis ’77 — CEO, Youth Villages
- Matt Rodrigue, Maine ’04 — Managing Director, Miller Buckfire
Chapter presidents expressed appreciation for Shawn McKenna and for his family and friends who made the Presidents Academy possible.
“Without their support and gracious donations, I would never be able to be here at the Presidents Academy to develop as a leader, as a man and as a brother,” said Simon Turner, Ohio State ’20.