Lee Named a Senior Aspen Impact Fellow

October 25, 2022

By Stephanie Rizzo ’09

Donna Lee
Photo by Scott Cook.

Throughout the course of the academic year, Vice President for Student Affairs Donna Lee will work with key stakeholders to help increase access to youth leadership programs.

Donna Lee, Rollins’ vice president for student affairs, has been named to the inaugural class of Senior Aspen Institute Impact Fellows, an honor that speaks to Lee’s commitment to supporting student leaders on campus and around the world. The fellowship brings together 90 key community stakeholders, including educators, college administrators, senior leaders, and youth from across the U.S. to help increase access to high-quality leadership programs for young people, especially those who come from underserved and low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Fellows will work closely with the Aspen Institute to develop the forthcoming Aspen Institute Leadership Development Index, a digital tool measuring core leadership capacities to accelerate personal and professional growth. The goal of the index is to help increase youth access to leadership development, a major focus of the Aspen Institute’s mission.

“To have been named an Aspen Fellow is humbling,” says Lee. “It is a tremendous honor to be among this distinguished group of scholars, educators, and thought leaders from across the country committed to advancing youth leadership. Aspen’s vision is directly related to the Rollins mission, and I have no doubt that this experience will open doors for our students. My hope is that the impact reaches beyond our walls and into local communities as well.”

According to the Aspen Institute, less than 32 percent of youth under the age of 25 in U.S. are exposed to any form of leadership development. And for those who do participate, less than 50 percent of those programs yield any meaningful impact. With the goal of increasing youth exposure to leadership programs above 50 percent over the next five years, the fellows will provide opportunities for young people to cultivate their talents and prepare them to address political, social, and scientific issues.

“Investing in the leadership development of our students is a powerful way to empower them to build essential knowledge and skills, access opportunity, and drive change for themselves and their communities,” adds Lee.

Overall, Lee and the other fellows will participate in three meetings throughout the academic year. The first was held virtually this past July, and she recently returned from a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., where she met with representatives from the institute and the other fellows. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in February.

With goals that are aligned with Rollins’ own mission to shape the educational experience through responsible leadership, the Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. The institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing our country and the world.

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