Campus wide, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Former presidential advisor on socially conscious leadership

By Shelby Hadden | October 21, 2020

On Thursday, Oct.15, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Charleston Southern University hosted a virtual forum to help students consider a Christian approach to the issues plaguing society today.

Anton Gunn at Charleston Southern University
Anton Gunn. Photo provided

The event featured guest speaker Anton Gunn, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, the world’s leading authority on Socially Conscious Leadership. Gunn’s presentation focused on helping students to be conscious of the kind of people they want in power and how they can make a difference in the challenges facing society today.

“No matter what happens…we all have a responsibility to make a difference,” stated Gunn, adding that the importance of finding a good leader, whether in the classroom or in the Oval Office, can make a big impact on those under that leadership.

“There are three important questions we must ask of our leaders. We do not want their verbal answers to these questions; we find these answers in their actions,” said Gunn. “The three questions are ‘do you care about me, will you help me, and can I trust you?’”

Anton Gunn presents on Socially Conscious Leadership
Anton Gunn presents on socially conscious leadership in a virtual event for Charleston Southern’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Gunn further explained why each of these questions is important and why they should be asked. ”If you fail to meet one of them then you are not doing your job as a leader,” Gunn said.

Gunn’s experiences working with former President Obama helped shape his view on how a leader should act in that type of position. 

“As a leader, never get too big to sit down and listen to the people you lead,” said Gunn.

With only a few short weeks before the 2020 election, the departments of history, political science and communication hosted the event with the intent to continue civics conversations with the campus community. Another recent virtual event hosted Dr. John Wilsey to explore “What Secures Liberty in Democracy.” 

“One of the most important things a university can do for everyone that is a part of it is to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas,” said Dr. John Kuykendall, the interim dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Mr. Gunn’s presentation was a fine contribution to a dialogue our campus community should be having this year about a Christian’s calling to responsible living (both publicly and privately).”

CSU students and employees can watch the video on Zoom for up to 30 days post-event. The passcode is available in a campuswide email.

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