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Center History - Columbus State University

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William B. Turner Center for Servant Leadership

Center History

The William B. Turner Center for Servant Leadership grew out of the recognition of a need for leadership development at Columbus State University in the late 1990s. Faculty, staff, the administration and community members, led by William B. Turner, believed servant leadership demanded attention and growth in Columbus.

In 1999, Mr. Turner and former CSU President Dr. Frank Brown merged their leadership visions to create the undergraduate Servant Leadership Program with the direction of Dr. Mary Sue Polleys. Today, the thriving four-year comprehensive undergraduate program incorporates leadership theory, practice, experiential learning, modeling and mentoring to prepare the next generation of leaders to be service-centered citizens in communities across the globe. For the past twenty years, the undergraduate Servant Leadership Program has instilled the importance of ethical leadership through community service projects, academic coursework, mentoring opportunities, and much more.

With the creation of the Center for Servant Leadership in the fall of 2017, Columbus State University made a commitment to expand reach of the philosophy of servant leadership to the broader population of CSU student body. The Center has taken on the operations of the campus Food Pantry, a service that is available to all students who are experiencing food insecurities. The Center has also been able to increase its offerings of student leadership development opportunities through creative collaborations with various departments on campus such as Athletics and the Office of Student Life and Development.

As the result of a generous gift made by the Coca-Cola Foundation to the Center for Servant Leadership in 2019, the Center is now named in honor of the man responsible for bringing the philosophy of servant leadership to our campus and to the Columbus community, Mr. William B. Turner.


Transforming the world by empowering students and others to lead with a lifelong commitment to service.


Through a widely-recognized community and university collaboration, the William B. Turner Center for Servant Leadership provides students with learning experiences that create growing, self-aware, well-balanced, and insightful servant leaders, enriching the community and the world, while serving as a model for others to follow.

Annual Reports

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