GOLDEN, Colo., May 14, 2015 – Sean McGinley, a Colorado School of Mines mechanical engineering student, has been chosen to join the inaugural class of Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows, a fully paid, five and a half week summer residential program for rising juniors “who desire to learn from George Washington’s leadership lessons and make a difference in today’s world.”

The students, from diverse academic disciplines, will immerse themselves in a leadership development program inspired by George Washington and today's foremost leaders. This select, small cohort will engage in dynamic leadership education curriculum and interact with nationally recognized corporate, government, and military leaders in the nation’s capital. 

“What interests me the most about this opportunity is both the experience and possibilities. This program allows me to spend five-and-a-half weeks in the heart of Washington D.C. to learn from the country's greatest leaders. I just simply can’t pass that up,” said McGinley, who credits his involvement in the McBride Honors Program at Mines for making the opportunity possible.

“The fellowship allows for each student to develop a personal cause and work with a mentor to accomplish an action project. Since I want to continue into the legal field upon graduating, the experience will allow me to further develop my passions outside of engineering and bring them back to my campus,” he said.

With the opening of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in 2013, Mount Vernon President Curt Viebranz envisioned an ambitious plan to attract and engage emerging student leaders.

“We’ve found 15 of our country’s brightest and most passionate college students, and we have inspired them to spend their summer at Mount Vernon, learning why George Washington’s leadership matters to them and to other young people,” said Viebranz. 

The program is funded by support from philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who recognized the impact it could deliver. He funded the program’s launch as part of his gift to the campaign for the library. Less than two years later, the program is ready for its debut.

Beginning June 15, the fellows will reside at Mount Vernon where they will take part in intimate, behind-the-scenes tours and cultural opportunities. The experiences will align with the fellow’s daily academic curriculum that will focus on Washington’s character, inspirational leadership, vision and execution.

In its first year, the program attracted 105 applicants from 70 colleges and universities in 25 states. The inaugural class of 15 fellows includes students pursuing engineering, nursing, and biology degrees, along with those following more anticipated fields of study, like history and political science. 

McGinley will join students from Temple University, Vanderbilt University, Oberlin College, University of South Carolina, Duke University, Washington State University, Skidmore College, University of Connecticut, The University of Edinburgh, Harvard College, University of Richmond, Pomona College and University of New Hampshire.

To learn more, see


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 |
Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |