The Excellence in Leadership speaker series provides a platform for some of the nation's most recognized leaders to share their experiences, insight, and knowledge with our campus.  Learn from their unique experiences about what it means to be a leader.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Julissa Arce presents:

"The American DREAMer: From Undocumented to Wall Street & Immigration Advocacy"

Julissa Arce is a writer, CNBC contributor, and advocate for immigrant rights and education.  She is the Co-founder and Chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students, regardless of their status, ethnicity, or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and College Spring. She is the former Director of Public Affairs at Define American, a media organization that uses the power of story to change the narrative surrounding immigration and citizenship. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street working for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and had seemingly achieved the American Dream—yet she was not part of what defined American.

Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, some of them spent rising to prominence on Wall Street. In order to help other young people in similar circumstances, Julissa co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund.  She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014. In September 2016, Julissa released her memoir, My (Underground) American Dream.

Monday, October 2, 7:30 p.m.

Pruis Hall


Alex Sheen presents: 

"The Life of a Promise"

Alex Sheen is the Founder of because I said I would, the international social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by the loss of his father, Alex began sending promise cards to anyone who requested them at no cost. Since his father’s passing on September 4th, 2012, because I said I would has sent over 6.64M promise cards to over 150 countries. Alex’s commitment to the betterment of humanity has inspired millions around the world. The story of his promises have been shared virally throughout social media and international news.

Alex’s promises include:
- Walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days to fulfill a promise to the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years.
- Committing to volunteer at 52 different nonprofit organizations in a single year and honoring his word.
- Promising children with cancer trips to Disneyland and personally delivering 100 tickets.
- Driving through the night to deliver disaster relief aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
- Volunteering in Ferguson, Missouri on Thanksgiving after looters destroyed small businesses.

Monday, October 30, 7:30 p.m.

Pruis Hall



Past Speakers

Our past speakers have included business owners, journalists, philanthropists, activists, politicians, political advisors, athletes, coaches, lawyers, film producers, and even an Oscar nominee. Each speaker has shared a unique perspective on what it means to lead, and how students can strive to make an impact, now and in the future.