Select students to be Benedictine leaders

June 3, 2013

Mesa, Arizona ~ Leaders aren’t born, they are made through hard work and quality life experiences and Benedictine University at Mesa plans to prove this premise through its new leadership program.

The University announced a new program designed to shape student leaders, foster community service and improve student success by supporting a select group of its incoming freshmen as they prepare for and begin their first year of college at Benedictine University at Mesa.

The Jo Wilson Leadership Program is a collaboration between the University and high schools in Mesa that allows a select group of 15-20 incoming freshmen to participate in a specialized pilot training program customized and personalized for each student based upon their career interests.

Participants are given an iPad as a learning tool to connect with assigned faculty and professional mentors, assist with research and to foster student engagement with peers, faculty and advisors. Benedictine alumnus George Krakora, M.B.A.’97, donated to the program to fully cover the iPad costs.

“This program is named in honor of Jo Wilson, a longtime Arizona resident and educator whose many accomplishments and service to the community exemplify the leadership traits this program espouses,” said William J. Carroll, president of Benedictine University.

Prior to joining Benedictine as senior administrator and special assistant to the executive vice president, Wilson was interim provost for the Downtown Center and Red Mountain Campus of Mesa Community College, where she taught and worked in numerous positions for more than 40 years – earning many honors. In 2010, Wilson was named Mesa’s Woman of the Year for her decades of public service.                                   
The goal of the program is to build excitement for learning and stronger career skills through creative, skill-building interactions, including monthly discussions with the senior administrator and the Mesa branch campus president.

“This is an exciting new program that combines leadership, service and the next generation of learning,” said Michael Carroll, Ph.D., president of Benedictine’s Mesa branch campus. “The Jo Wilson Leadership Program will introduce these bright students to our interactive, lecture-free next generation learning model, which emphasizes critical and creative thinking, technology integration, collaboration and service learning.”

Students will participate in a summer orientation program during which they will complete a community service project. Each year, students will identify a community need and complete a service project to address that need.

The University helps students identify and apply for financial assistance, including scholarships. Program participants will have the opportunity to work on campus and have the option of serving a paid internship in the Mesa or Chicago areas between their junior and senior year, linking them with community leaders and developing their communication skills. Participants also have the option to study for one semester at Benedictine’s main campus in Lisle, Ill., or may embark on a Benedictine study abroad program at a 50 percent tuition reduction.

To qualify for the program, a student from Mesa must be enrolled in advanced placement (AP) classes or recommended by a Benedictine University at Mesa staff member, be admitted to Benedictine University at Mesa as a full-time student, and be recommended to the program by a teacher or complete an interview with a selection committee. Preference is given to first-generation college students.                                                    

For an application and more information, visit or call (602) 888-5500.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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Gary Kohn
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