The Jepson Update

The Jepson Update

A newsletter for alumni and friends of the Jepson School • Spring 2024

From the Dean

Sandra Peart

I love the month of May. It marks both the climax of our academic year, a time to celebrate Finale and Commencement with our graduating class, and the year’s denouement, a time to take stock and reflect. 

First, the climax: The Jepson Class of 2024, comprising 61 majors and 19 minors, graduated May 12. Leadership studies alumna Heidi Petz, president and CEO of the Sherwin-Williams Company, offered sound leadership advice to the University’s newest graduates during her Commencement address.

Even as Class of 2024 members joyously tossed their caps high in the air, their thoughts turned to the next phase of their journey. Some will head to top-tier graduate schools, such as Georgetown University, the University of Edinburgh, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and, for three Jepson Scholars, the University of Oxford.

Others will launch their professional careers with organizations as diverse as they are, including Citibank, Nordstrom, the FBI, the Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute, and AlphaSights. All will carry with them a strong foundation in leadership studies that will serve them well in their future endeavors.

Second, the denouement: In reflecting on the last few months, I find much to be grateful for. I was impressed, yet again, by the breadth and depth of our students’ research, showcased beautifully at the Jepson Research Symposium on April 19. The Gary L. McDowell Institute had a particularly fruitful year, marked by a greatly expanded Student Fellows Program and a $500,000 grant awarded by the Endeavour Legacy Foundation to amplify the institute’s programming.

Thanks in large part to our dedicated alumni, the school had its most successful UR Here Giving Day to date, raising $160,535 from 257 donors, a 19 percent increase in dollars raised and a 42 percent increase in the number of donors from the previous year.

I hope to see many of our alumni and friends in the next few days at Reunion Weekend events. In the meantime, please enjoy reading about our accomplished alumni and the latest school news in this issue of the Jepson Update!

With best wishes for a productive, restorative summer,

Sandra J. Peart
Dean and E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor in Leadership Studies
President, Jepson Scholars Foundation

Heidi Petz giving the 2024 Commencement address at the Robins Stadium

Jepson alum Heidi Petz gives Commencement address

Heidi Petz, president and chief executive officer of the Sherwin-Williams Company, gave the keynote address during the University of Richmond’s main Commencement ceremony on May 12 at the Robins Center. The 1997 Jepson School graduate told members of the Class of 2024 to lean into their strengths and lean on others for theirs.

Alyson Fraser Diaz facilitates a brainstorming session.

Social change by design

Alyson Fraser Diaz, ’14, contributes to positive social change one website redesign at a time. Drawing on her undergraduate degree in leadership studies and her MFA in Design for Social Innovation, the freelance design consultant and brand strategist helps social-impact organizations and nonprofits raise awareness of their work.

Headshot of Conor Flanagan in front of a Hershey's backdrop

Marketing chocolatey goodness

Working as senior brand manager at Hershey’s is a sweet gig for alum Conor Flanagan, ’12. He leads the Hershey’s brand team responsible for marketing products that include “Hershey’s” in their names, such as Hershey’s bars, Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme, and Hershey’s Nuggets.

Headshot of Sandra Peart in front of bookshelves

The History of Economics Society honors Dean Sandra Peart

Dean Sandra Peart received the 2024 Distinguished Fellow Prize from the History of Economics Society in recognition of her substantial contributions to the study of economics history. She will be formerly honored at the society’s annual conference in Santiago, Chile, in July. 

Anum Merchant, Trevin Stevens, and Delaney Demaret said they feel well prepared to attend graduate school at Oxford.

Three Jepson Scholars head to Oxford

The Jepson Scholars Foundation awarded full scholarships covering tuition, room, board, and fees to three Class of 2024 leadership studies graduates to attend master’s programs at the University of Oxford this fall. Although their master’s programs and career interests are quite different, the three agree that their Jepson School education has prepared them to be successful at Oxford and beyond. 

Maggie Johnson working on her computer

Streaming Spiders: Podcast hosts alums in conversation

When interviewing alums, Maggie Johnson always asks: How did you end up at the University of Richmond? A 2018 Jepson School graduate, she now produces the University’s As Spiders Do alumni podcast. “Everyone seems to have their own journey,” she says of alums’ origin stories.

Isabela Keetley holding a Fulbright Spain sign

Isabela Keetley, ’23, teaches high school in Madrid on a Fulbright grant

Isabela Keetley, ’23, has been teaching history and English and running a model UN club at a high school in Madrid. She was one of five University of Richmond students selected for a Fulbright for 2023-2024.

School Stories

Kaitlyn Garrett gives a poster presentation on her senior thesis during the Jepson Research Symposium on April 19.
April 30, 2024
A deep dive into leadership

Jepson Hall was abuzz with conversation as students presented their research on April 19 at the annual Jepson Research Symposium.

Eve Ridenhour and Dr. Crystal Hoyt stand in front of Eve's research poster at the SPSP Convention in San Diego.
March 5, 2024
Mentoring matters

Faculty mentors guide students in refining their research for publication.

Kiran Saini in Stern Plaza with Jepson Hall in the background
April 25, 2024
Putting smiles on faces

Senior Kiran Saini combines her interests in oral health and public policy to help underserved populations access dental care.

Chris Mitchell by a flowering tree in front of the Humanities Building
April 16, 2024
Paying it forward
First-generation college student shares his knowledge of college with his Latinx high school mentees.
Christian Herald, '25, stands by a window overlooking Stern Plaza.
March 14, 2024
A voice for social justice

Counterculture Magazine editor-in-chief touts the publication as a platform for social justice advocacy.

Contact Us

Jepson School of Leadership Studies
221 Richmond Way
University of Richmond, VA 23173

General Information:

Phone: (804) 289-8008
Fax: (804) 287-6062