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Bernard P. McDonough

Who was Bernard P. McDonough?

The Center is named in honor of Bernard P. McDonough (1903-1985), a self-made industrialist and entrepreneur who ran wide-ranging global business interests from his Marmac Corporation headquarters in Parkersburg, West Virginia. From humble beginnings, he built an industrial empire after World War II with diverse holdings, including concrete plants, construction companies, shoe factories, marine barges, lawn and garden tool factories, and sand and gravel operations.

In 1986, through a generous $5.5 million gift from McDonough's wife, Alma McDonough, and the McDonough Foundation, Marietta College established the Bernard P. McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. Drawing from a liberal arts curriculum, the Center began offering one of the first comprehensive undergraduate leadership programs in the United States. The Center welcomed its first cohort of undergraduate leadership students in the fall of 1987. In 1988, the McDonough building was dedicated on campus — offering state-of-the-art facilities.

As a reflection of Mr. McDonough’s entrepreneurial spirit, the Center has maintained its focus on cutting-edge leadership studies initiatives, including the Teacher Leadership Certificate, and the Engineering Leadership Certificate. Aside from these innovative tracks, the Center also offers a Minor and a Certificate in Leadership Studies, which can be combined with any major at Marietta College.


What is the McDonough Center?

The Center was established in 1986 at Marietta College with a $5.5 million gift in memory of local industrialist Bernard P. McDonough. It offers a variety of activities and programs designed to promote the study and practice of leadership.

What is the McDonough Leadership Program?

The McDonough Center offers the McDonough Leadership Program as a powerful leadership development experience for undergraduate students at Marietta College. The program has been designed to allow the study of leadership within a Liberal Arts context with a focus on critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills. It has both a curricular (courses on leadership topics) and a co-curricular (leadership skill-building opportunities) component. Students in the program are called McDonough Scholars, and they can pursue one of four tracks: The Teacher Leadership Certificate (TLC); the Engineering Leadership Certificate (ELC); the Certificate in Leadership Studies (CLS); and the Minor in Leadership Studies (MLS). The main philosophy of the program is based on three components – knowledge, action, and growth. We help you expand your knowledge of leadership, as you practice your leadership skills. In the process, you grow as an engaged leader on campus and in the community.

Why learn about leadership?

Regardless of the field of study that you choose to pursue at Marietta College, you will most likely face leadership challenges in your profession after graduation. Whenever people organize themselves into groups, the "leadership" question arises. Who will lead? Who will follow? What is the preferred leadership style used by the leader? How much power should the leader have? What are the ethical expectations in the relationship between leaders and followers? These are not abstract questions. They go to the heart of your role in any organization/community. By expanding your knowledge of leadership and developing your leadership skills, you will gain the ability to become a more effective leader in your organization and your community. Our graduates tell us that their participation in the leadership program really made a difference in their ability to lead effectively.

How do I get into the McDonough Leadership Program?

The McDonough Leadership Program is open to undergraduate students from any major through a selection process. Students apply to the program after they have been accepted to Marietta College during their senior year in high school. Acceptance into the leadership program is competitive. To become a McDonough Scholar at Marietta College and pursue one of the four tracks in the McDonough Leadership Program (Minor in Leadership Studies, Certificate in Leadership Studies, Teacher Leadership Certificate, Engineering Leadership Certificate), please contact your admission counselor

Note: Only students who have been accepted to Marietta College are eligible to apply to the McDonough Leadership Program.


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I'm a current Marietta College student. Can I still participate in the McDonough Leadership Program?

Yes. Sophomores can apply to the McDonough Leadership Program by contacting Dr. Alexandra Perry, Interim Dean, McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. Accepted students are expected to participate in the EXCEL (Experience Civic Engagement and Leadership) Workshop before the beginning of the fall semester. The McDonough Selection Committee will take your academic record at Marietta College into consideration when reviewing your application.

What will I do at the EXCEL Workshop?

Once you have been accepted into the McDonough Leadership Program, you have to participate in a five-day workshop on campus. This workshop begins a few days before the College's orientation for all new freshmen. EXCEL, which stands for Experience Civic Engagement and Leadership, includes an overview of the leadership program, informal gatherings, academic sessions, simulations, case studies, and outdoor team-building exercises. New leadership students are brought together in many different settings through which they get to know each other, as well as their professors. It is a time for assessing their own ideas about leadership, the ways in which they interact with others, and their preparation for the coming year of leadership study. Upper-class leadership students organize and run the workshop as part of their own leadership development experience.

What will I do during the first semester in the Leadership Program?

As a new McDonough Scholar, you will take LEAD 101 (Foundations of Leadership) in the fall semester. LEAD 101 allows you to read and discuss the latest issues in the leadership development literature. The course, however, takes you beyond theory. You become a member of a team that develops a service project in the community. You are also assigned a community-service site where you begin to do volunteer work as part of the program's required community-service hours. The course focuses on four leadership skills: critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and oral communication.

What are the courses like in the Leadership Program?

The Leadership Program offers a wide variety of courses for students pursuing the four leadership tracks. All McDonough Scholars take the same core courses during their first year in the program – LEAD 101 (Foundations of Leadership) in the fall and LEAD 103 (Organizational Leadership) in the spring. These courses use a seminar format with readings, discussions, and writing assignments. The small-class size (usually between 18 and 24 students) allows open discussion and active participation. In their sophomore year, McDonough Scholars pursuing the certificate/minor in Leadership Studies take LEAD 201 (Theories and Models of Leadership), LEAD 203 (Global Leadership), and LEAD 301 (Ethical Leadership). In addition, they have to take a one-credit-hour course designed to further develop their leadership skills (LEAD 240). Students pursuing the Teacher Leadership Certificate (TLC) follow a different track. They take LEAD 210 (From Teacher to Leader) instead. This course introduces the TLC students to the main concepts in the teacher leadership literature.

What is the role of "service" in the Leadership Program?

Leadership development demands that students both observe leadership in action and practice it; therefore, the leadership program coordinates with sites in the community and on campus to provide leadership opportunities for students. Because we believe that the improvement of community must be the highest goal of ethical leadership, students are required to perform meaningful community service in all four tracks. This requirement is intended to help students gain a better understanding of the realities of living in a democratic society and to observe and practice leadership as it manifests itself within an organization. During their freshman and sophomore years, students work in teams, a result of the belief that leadership is primarily a group process. In the leadership classes that integrate service into the curriculum, students working in teams discover that experience illuminates theory. A few of the strategies used to debrief the service experience include: defining leadership; defining mutual purposes; comparing different leadership styles; working beyond conflict; studying how the structure of an organization adds to or detracts from communication; observing how power is used; identifying which dynamics make a team succeed or fail; and pinpointing and solving problems.

What is the Leadership Study Abroad Program?

The Center's Leadership Studies Abroad Program is designed to allow all students to have international experiences that can be related to leadership themes. This program offers three main types of trips: (1) Travels to International Conferences; (2) Exchange Visits; (3) Faculty-led trips. If you would like to be involved in any of these trips, please contact the Center via e-mail (

What other programs does the McDonough Center offer?

The McDonough Center offers a wide range of leadership development activities for students, including guest speakers, projects in the community, executive-in-residence program, conferences, and cross-cultural communication exercises. The Center also houses the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE), which coordinates many service activities in the community, including the annual Community Service Day and Make a Difference Day. Leadership students are encouraged to get involved and take on leadership roles at the Center.

How do I apply for a Leadership Experiential Education (LEEF) Grant?

The McDonough Center offers grants to McDonough Scholars to help defray the cost of a co-curricular experience -- internship, study abroad, service project, conference attendance, undergraduate research. LEEF grants are offered on a rolling basis, so applications are reviewed throughout the academic year. For more information, visit the LEEF grant application page.

Contact Us

There are several ways to contact us, and we'd love to hear from you!

Phone: 740.376.4760
Address: The McDonough Center for Leadership and Business
Marietta College
215 Fifth Street
Marietta, OH 45750