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Richard & Lila Sussman Leadership Conferences

The Sussman Leadership Conferences provide all Drake undergraduates with an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills, knowledge, and network. Each semester, the half-day conferences are focused on a theme that helps current and future student leaders become effective at Drake and beyond.

For more information contact Kristin Economos, Director of Student Leadership Programs,


Previous Conference Themes

Leadership Reframed - Dr. Jon Paul Higgins
Leadership: Allways on Beat | Presented by: Trill or Not Trill


The Science of Adulting: How to Make Decisions | Keynote: Dr. Jeff Belkora
Controversy with Civility | Keynote: Joshua Fredenburg

2015- 2016
Do Less, Achieve More | Keynote: James Robilotta
SALAD Un-Conference Experience | Presented By: Campus Speak

Making a Difference by Valuing Difference | Keynote: Paul Wesselmann
The Conscious Choice- Collaborative Leadership | Keynote: Justin Jones-Fosu

About Richard & Lila Sussman

Drake University is grateful for the generous philanthropic support of Richard, AS’51, and the late Lila Sussman that made this conference possible. 

The Sussmans’ incredible commitment to Drake has influenced many students at the University during the last 45 years. The Sussmans have supported the Donald V. Adams Leadership Institute, Drake Fine Arts, the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship, The Drake Fund, and the renovation of the Lila and Richard Sussman Theater in Olmsted Center. Richard continues the legacy of giving that he and his wife established at Drake, most recently through the creation of the Sussman Lecture Series, an initiative of The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement.

Richard’s deep connection to Drake began as a student, when he was a student leader and member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He graduated in 1951 with a major in Economics. After graduation, he remained involved in the University through service on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors and other activities.

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