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New program established to enhance leadership skills in WVU Davis College students

Davis Colleges student extending colorful strings of yarn to another student.
This program is designed to create a strong foundation that empowers students to excel in college and in their careers
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This spring, high-achieving freshmen in the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will be offered a chance to become part of new program designed to enhance their leadership skills and career preparedness.

The Davis-Michael Sustainability Fellows Program will offer transformational learning opportunities to exceptional students across all disciplines in the college.

“This unique program offers many benefits for the next generation of sustainability leaders,” said Daniel J. Robison, dean of the WVU Davis College. “The program will offer academic enrichment and professional development opportunities as well as mentoring and success coaching, and we’re excited to be able to offer our best and brightest these opportunities.”

Each year up to 12 freshmen, at least two from each of the college’s five divisions and two from the Davis-Michael Scholars Pre-Veterinary Program, will be selected by college leadership. Additional students from the college’s upper ranks may also be selected. 

Students will have the opportunity to attend a series of sustainability-themed and capacity-themed programs and participate in field trips, organizational and leadership training – including team development initiatives at the WVU Outdoor Education Center - service activities on campus and across the community, study trips – locally and abroad — and special scholarly events, lectures and panels.

“This in-depth curriculum will provide fellows with more extensive learning experiences,” said Hillar Klandorf, coordinator of the new program and professor of animal and nutritional sciences. “We will also host faculty partners to lead discussions about cutting-edge topics and engage the fellows in applied learning activities.”

This enhanced approach will create a strong foundation that empowers students to excel in college and in their careers.

“Students will be challenged to put their skills, knowledge and leadership philosophy into action in a team approach,” said Todd Petty, associate dean for academic affairs. “As the students pursue their professional passions they will collaborate with peers on projects that will have a positive impact on themselves and the community.”

Students who are eligible for the program will receive an email from the Davis College Associate Dean for Academic Affairs’ office in the next week and will have a chance to apply. As long as selected students maintain a 3.2 grade point average and participate in events, they will hold the title of Davis-Michael Sustainability Fellow for up to seven consecutive semesters.

To learn more about the fellows program, contact Klandorf at

Funding for the Davis-Michael Sustainability Fellows Program has been budgeted by the Davis-Michael Oversite Committee. The committee oversees funds given through the estates of Vivien Davis Michael and her sister Gladys Davis to establish the Davis-Michael Pre-Veterinary Scholars Program and initiatives that benefit the entire college. The Davis-Michael gift, more than $16 million, is the largest in the college’s history and led to its renaming in 2001.



CONTACT: Julie Cryser, Director, Office of Advancement

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