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James Buzzard Leadership Development Program

Buzzard program Cohort 2 - NC State University


The James Buzzard Leadership Development Program was initiated through a generous donation from James “Jim” Buzzard, an alumnus of the College of Natural Resources and the former president of MeadWestvaco. Through observation, Jim believed that many leaders, despite their mystique and ability to inspire great things, wonder how they developed the skills to become such figureheads in their organizations.

Jim concluded that outstanding leadership, like any other skill, can be learned. Good leaders have taken the time to develop their craft, clarifying their core beliefs and cultivating their ability to inspire others. They have discovered how to uncover the energy and talents of diverse people and channel them into the pursuit of a common vision. They have practiced the art of team building, enforcing essential principles, when necessary, but always ensuring that all team members are active and productive members of the group. Outstanding leaders change the world through vision, hard work, creativity and the careful service of others.

The James Buzzard Leadership Development Program is built on Jim’s vision to help undergraduate students further their interests in leadership and hone their skills so that they leave NC State as budding leaders capable of guiding teams to success in whatever careers they pursue. Using an inspirational case-based learning approach, combined with personal interactions with leaders across various fields and a focus on leadership development through readings, reflections and hands-on activities, this year-long program gives students who complete it a greater understanding of their potential and new confidence in what they can accomplish.

Program Components

  • Ropes course
  • Bi-weekly seminars
  • Leadership seminar series and the opportunity to meet seminal leaders
  • Self-awareness personality inventory
  • Health coaching sessions
  • Individualized sessions with a professional coach
  • Access to a community mentor
  • 3-4 field trips to meet with the leadership of various organizations
  • Networking dinner with community leaders
  • Collaborative leadership project 

Student Opportunities

  • Build your resume to make you more competitive 
  • Enjoy free professional development resources
  • Partner with a community mentor
  • Meet and engage with industry leaders
  • Participate in field trips to visit the leadership of different companies and organizations  
  • Apply your leadership skills through various opportunities
  • Collaborate with other students to host interactive seminars

Application Information

Applications for 2025-26 will be available in early 2025. 

Admission Criteria

  • The program is limited to no more than 20 students per cohort.
  • Students must be willing to commit to the full academic year (August-May) and must be a junior or senior. Sophomores with leadership experience may be considered. 

Please contact Jason Bocarro, director of the James Buzzard Leadership Development Program, at to learn more.

Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

The James Buzzard Leadership Development Program is preparing students to be innovative, socially responsive, ethical and mindful leaders ready to positively impact their communities.

Students meeting together in a room - Jim Buzzard Leadership Program - College of Natural Resources at NC State University

Get to Know the 2023-24 James Buzzard Leadership Program Alumni

Explore the backgrounds, ambitions, and leadership goals of the 2023-24 Fellows. Discover their inspiring journeys and what they aimed to achieve through the program.