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Disney Leadership Institute


The Fontbonne University Disney Leadership Institute allows students to attend the College Edition of Disney’s Imagination Campus –an accredited Leadership Development program hosted by professionals and business leaders associated with The Walt Disney Corporation.

This program encourages participants to focus on and develop personal strengths and values in conjunction with organizational values and individual legacy. Students that graduate from the institute will return to campus as stronger leaders with a continued focus on understanding that personal values and strengths serve as a cornerstone for all leadership development.

Program Objectives

By participating in the Fontbonne University Disney Leadership Institute, students will:

  • Realize that leadership affects every aspect of business and that everyone has the opportunity to exhibit leadership traits and behaviors.
  • Understand the various meanings of social groups, the general implications of group membership and the different ways that groups function.
  • Comprehend conflict, cooperation and interdependence between individuals, groups and institutions.
  • Effectively use mental processes to identify similarities and differences.
  • Learn how effective leaders strive to overcome barriers and challenges that prevent the achievement of business results.
  • Reinforce a healthy self‐image by contributing to the overall efforts of a group.
  • Harness the group’s dynamics and build team cohesion.
  • Acknowledge the role of trust, creativity and teamwork in developing an effective improvisational performance.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the dynamics of successful improvisation.
  • Apply knowledge, skills and improvisational rules and tools to create an entertaining atmosphere that showcases teamwork and a cohesive story arc.
  • Build performance relationships to create an atmosphere where their creativity and self-confidence flourishes.
  • Support one another as audience members and as performers.

Phases of the Experience

On-Campus Experience

Students participating in the program will spend the beginning of their experience in cohort-styled coursework that focuses on team development, defining and comprehending individual strengths, and problem solving.

On-Site Experience

As part of the program, students will travel to Disney World right after finals conclude in the fall semester to partake in a multi-day, training-intensive program that highlights leadership strategies, teamwork, creativity, hospitality, and organizational culture.

Post-Site Experience

Upon returning to campus in the spring, students will be expected to engage in enhanced leadership opportunities throughout the Fontbonne community and serve as ambassadors to the Disney Leadership Experience program.

Past Cohorts

team picture coming soon

Cohort VIII: Determinate

December 8-13, 2023

The eighth Disney Cohort will use the Disney Channel Original Movie “Lemonade Mouth” to discuss authentic relationships, humility and justice.  By analyzing the song “Determinate” and the empowered mindset of the band throughout the film, students will sharpen their activism skills and utilize their voices to create positive change.

Team picture with mickey

Cohort VII: Why Should I Worry?

December 9-14, 2022

The seventh Disney Cohort will used the story of “Oliver and Company” to discuss stress management and self-care, to challenge their own grit, and to understand the significance of mentorship in relation to personal success. Through analysis of the song “Why Should I Worry?,” and the bond formed by Oliver and Dodger throughout the film, students better comprehended successful ways to both rely on oneself and others.

Cohort VI: Impossible

December 10-15, 2021

The sixth Disney Cohort focused on The Wonderful World of Disney’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” (1997) as an example of the importance of representation, a model of setting goals to achieve one’s dreams, and a guide to exemplary kindness. Students analyzed the song “Impossible” in order to engage in deep conversations about Cinderella’s journey to happiness.

Disney Leadership Cohort V Group Shot

Cohort V: Find Your Shot

2020 experience modified due to COVID-19

The fifth Disney Cohort capitalized on the Disney Channel’s “The Luck of the Irish” to better comprehend and discuss various privileges, the celebration of diversity and heritage, and the power of teamwork. Members of this team analyzed the tale of Kyle Johnson and his friends in an effort to recognize privilege and appreciate diversity throughout our campus community.

Disney Cohort Group Photo

Cohort IV: Stand Out

December 12-18, 2019

The fourth Disney Cohort studied Disney’s “A Goofy Movie” as a story focused on individualism, self-assurance and the power of significance. By analyzing the lyrics from “Stand Out,” and the journey that Max and Goofy experience, students bettered their understanding of various experiences in relation to campus culture.

A graphic representing Fontbonne's Disney Leadership Cohort III, including a group photo.

Cohort III: Zetus Lapetus

December 14-19, 2018

The third Disney Cohort featured Disney Channel’s Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century as a story aimed at invoking futuristic thought, empowerment, and teamwork. Members of the team used the song “The Galaxy Is Ours” and the story of Zenon and her friends in an effort to outline positive enhancements to the university and our culture.

Cohort II: Seize The Day

December 18-22, 2017

Our second Disney Cohort utilized Disney’s Newsies as a tale aimed at teaching activism, social change and seeking opportunity. Members of the team studied the lyrics of the song “Seize The Day” and analyzed the dedication set forth by the Newsies as they discussed their ability to create and implement change throughout the university and beyond.

Cohort I: Go The Distance

December 9-13, 2016

Our first Disney Cohort utilized Disney’s Hercules as a story focused on perseverance and overcoming adversity. Members of the team studied the lyrics of the song “Go The Distance” and analyzed Hercules’ journey as they discussed campus initiatives and dreams.


Please direct all questions to Joel Hermann, Director of Orientation and Student Engagement.


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