To be a successful applicant to the College, students are expected to have gained leadership experiences in high school. It is also expected that after graduation, Harvard alumni will achieve positions of authority and influence.
It is the core belief of the Leadership Institute that leaders are developed - through practice, failure, and training - not made. Yet, despite the connection between Harvard graduates and leadership positions, no program or training existed to develop the nascent leadership skills and provide opportunities to reflect on challenges and lessons. The hallowed classrooms across campus provide venues for academic growth, but not for specific leadership growth.
The Leadership Institute at Harvard College (LIHC) aims to fill this gap. The Leadership Institute was born in 2004-2005 as the fusion of several fledgling student organizations. By bringing together the individual groups that focused on leadership and communication among students, synergies developed and helped propel LIHC to the forefront of leadership training. Today, LIHC is the premier leadership development organization at Harvard College.
Much of the work to unify the organization came as the fulfillment of a class project, in which the assignment to “find a way to improve the campus” became the motivation to create a coherent and structured approach to training these once and future leaders. Today, LIHC continues to offer more and better programming and aims to be in touch with students to determine the leadership needs and interests of Harvard undergraduates. The organization has won the recognition and esteem of the Office of Student Life for the work LIHC does on campus.