Mar 07, 2023

College of the Ozarks students attended Missouri Governor’s Leadership Forum Feb. 17-19

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. —Four students from College of the Ozarks joined 80 other collegiate students nominated to represent their colleges from across the state for the 38th Annual Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, held Feb. 17-19, 2023, in Jefferson City, Missouri. The students who attended were Matthew Wamsley, junior graphic design major; Shelomi Miner, junior exercise science major; Keaton Terry, sophomore computer information science major; and Andrea Comfort, sophomore psychology major.

Captain Caleb Dunnam, traveled with the students as a sponsor.

“This was an excellent event and I was honored to join these students in exploring some important aspects of leadership, integrity, and dealing with vulnerability.” Dunnam said. “I would highly recommend that any student—but especially those who identify as emerging leaders — seek out the opportunity to participate in this program, the national conference, or to explore the internship and fellowship opportunities in Washington, D.C. through the organization.”

The Forum challenges students’ character development by encouraging them to reflect on their own decision-making skills, values, and belief systems. Students learn about how to reconcile relationships, stand for truth, and love others as they love themselves. The Forum’s guiding principle is teaching students to embrace altruism rather than egotism. The event started in 1986 under the leadership of former Missouri Governor and 79th U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

“The Governor's Leadership Forum was a unique and very beneficial opportunity to grow as a leader and in overall self-reflection.” Terry said. “The deep discussions with my small group forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and the diverse experiences shared by different speakers prompted me to consider the way I prioritize my time and energy and how I interact with others.”

The Forum kicked off with an inspirational message from Rebecca Welsh, Founder of Halo, a mission that provides housing, healing, and education to at-risk and homeless children. Students ended the day at the Capitol, touring the House Lounge and hearing from Bob Priddy, retired news director of Missourinet; visiting the Governor’s office for a meet and greet and message from Governor Mike Parson; and finally visiting the House Floor, led by Missouri State Senator Travis Fitzwater, and hearing from Rod Jetton, former Speaker of the House.

“Rod Jetton told the students of the forum, ‘You have already achieved success, or you wouldn't be here’. If I could share anything from this weekend, it would be a reminder to C of O students to be proud of yourselves and keep striving to make every day better than yesterday,” Comfort said.