Skip to main content

About Us

Inclusion & Access

How we work to create an inclusive environment for all.
Learn More

Faculty & Staff

Meet the Center for Leadership team.

Learn More

Our Origins

The roots of the Center for Leadership are in the Undergraduate Leadership Program (ULP), founded by Prof. Paul Arntson in 1990 with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Under Arntson’s leadership, ULP quickly established itself as a popular academic certificate which brought students together with leaders from all sectors of society and from all walks of life. Professor and Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Garry Wills, also taught in the program, leading to the 1995 publication of Certain Trumpets: The Nature of Leadership. An additional grant from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and continued support from the University, ensured the long-term viability of the program, and now over 3,000 students have participated in ULP.

Broadening Our Focus

In 2009, The Graduate School and the Office of the Provost funded a competitive Leadership Fellowship for advanced PhD students and high-potential staff. This expansion led to the formal establishment of the Center for Leadership, which houses all our services.

2011 saw a collaboration with the Kellogg School of Management leading to the creation of our leadership coaching program, annually serving over 200 Northwestern students, undergrad through postdoc, representing every school in the University.

To make leadership development more broadly available, the Center for Leadership adopted a partnership model in which we come alongside existing programs and departments. This helps them to add a leadership development component to their current offerings. In recent years, we created custom programs for professional master’s students, postdocs and faculty, along with chief medical residents and fellows.


The Center for Leadership serves students, faculty and others from across Northwestern University. It reports to the Office of the Provost and its academic programs are sponsored by the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. All members of the University are invited to get involved.

Back to top