Since 1984, the U.S. Naval Academy has hosted an annual leadership conference for senior cadets and midshipmen from each of the service academies. In 2002, the conference expanded to include student leaders from civilian universities and broadened its scope to include leadership topics relevant to government, business, academia, and the military. Made possible through the generous support of the Class of ’38, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, and Mitch and Linda Hart, the USNA Leadership Conference typically includes more than 400 participants from over 45 military and civilian colleges.
This annual conference is held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. It invites high-character individuals who demonstrate a deep interest in leadership and its applications to contribute to each year’s themed discussions and benefit from the experience. The conference includes speakers and panel discussions to discuss leadership lessons and applications from their experiences and has a variety of presentation formats and forums to increase the amount of small group interaction and discussion in order to foster a great learning experience for the attendees.
See What Our Students Say About Their Experience:
The Naval Academy Leadership Conference was a great experience to further my leadership development within the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Not only did I engage in discussions with other great leaders from the armed forces, civilian organizations, and several international delegates, but I also listened to useful lectures and panels from top military officials and even prisoners of war. It has brought a new lens through which to view my own organizations and schoolwork and concrete, research-supported activities that improve skills like resilience.
– Hannah Baradon, 2022 Attendee
The Naval Academy Leadership conference was a transformational event that truly led to the development of leadership skills. I had the honor of attending with two other representatives from the University of Florida. Throughout the conference, I was able to engage in thoughtful discussions and share perspectives on leadership with other delegates, creating meaningful friendships along the way. The topic of “Returning with Honor” was present throughout the many panels and speakers who came to share their insights. My main takeaway from the conference was the importance of optimism. LT Brad Snyder shared how after being injured in Afghanistan and suffering the loss of his eyesight, he never gave up, later earning a gold medal in the Paralympics. The conference truly embodied how in the face of adversity, determination and positivity can overcome any obstacle.
– Sarah Daly, 2022 Attendee
Attending the Naval Academy Leadership Conference alongside two of my peer leaders from the University of Florida has been a transformative experience for me. Being selected as a representative of the university and learning from some of the nation’s top leaders was truly an honor. The conference was so rich with excellent leadership wisdom the experience was akin to drinking from a firehose. Discussions held in our breakout groups and thoughts shared with my fellow delegates from UF helped me internalize many valuable ideas around leadership. During the conference, we were afforded the opportunity to meet with student leaders, both military and civilian, from all over the world. The sharing of leadership ideas across cultural and political boundaries offered some amazing perspectives. One of my favorite quotes from the conference came from the Forrestal Lecture given by the Vietnam POWs and goes, “No one else can break your spirit, only you can.”
– Robert Herring, 2022 Attendee