At Marquette University, our history has been shaped by bold risk-takers, disrupters, creative visionaries, and innovation leaders concerned with creating value and making an impact. The E-Lead Program is intentionally connected to these roots.
In 2011, Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering, started sharing her vision for an intentional leadership development program with a small group of people. In her decades-long career as a professor and then department chair in biomedical engineering at Marquette, Dr. Ropella repeatedly listened to the stories of countless alumni who were rewarded for their excellence as individual contributors in their workplaces with promotions into people-leadership roles. Many of those stories followed the same refrain – they had to learn the hard way that the skills that made them successful as individual contributors simply weren’t enough to help them navigate the responsibilities and challenges of leading teams of people. With leadership being one of the four pillars of the mission of Marquette University, Dr. Ropella knew we could not leave it to chance or assume that our graduates would learn to effectively lead people and innovation simply because we said we wanted them to.
After networking the idea with several initial donors, industry leaders, and alumni, the E-Lead Program was born.
The Opus College of Engineering launched the first iteration of E-Lead, then called Engineers in the Lead, in 2014. Since its inception, the nationally-recognized program has seen immediate results, graduating undergraduate engineering students with enhanced self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
In 2019, E-Lead doubled the size of the program and opened the program to all majors. Since that time, incoming cohorts consist of 40 students from disciplines across the university. E-Lead is now housed in the Fotsch Innovation and Engineering Leadership Development (FIELD) Center at Marquette University.