By Lisa Hall, NC State University

A major gift from Raleigh-based Red Hat will provide critical long-term support for the largest program based at North Carolina State University’s Shelton Leadership Center.

Also, today, Red Hat announced the availability of Red Hat Fuse 7, the next major release of its distributed, cloud-native integration solution, and introduced a new fully hosted low-code integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) offering, Fuse Online.

With Fuse 7, Red Hat is expanding its innovative integration capabilities natively to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. Fuse gives customers a unified solution for creating, extending and deploying containerized integration services across hybrid cloud environments.

The $1 million contribution to the Shelton Center benefits the intensive summer leadership program for high school students that’s at the heart of the center’s mission to develop values-based leaders.

The program is also one of the center’s longest-running initiatives, along with the annual leadership forum. It now will be named the Red Hat Shelton Challenge.

The gift honors the leadership and impact of General H. Hugh Shelton, the Shelton Leadership Center’s founder and namesake and a former longtime member of Red Hat’s board of directors. The NC State alumnus, who retired fr om a distinguished 38-year military career in 2001 following two terms as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chaired the Red Hat board for seven years.

In addition to financial support, Red Hat associates will speak at two Challenge graduation events this summer and a representative of the company will serve on the center’s board of advisers.

Focused on leadership cornerstones

“General Shelton was an important part of the Red Hat family for a long time, more than 14 years,” said Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat. “During that time, he made a strong impact on our business, culture and associates. Personally, he served as an inspiration and a mentor to me, providing invaluable insights and lessons on how to lead people in an open and honest way.

“We felt that this was a small way for us to thank him for his contributions and to make sure that the values by which he leads are instilled in future generations.”

The Shelton Leadership Center was established in 2002 to develop the next generation of values-based leaders on campus as well as in corporate, governmental, educational, nonprofit and youth development organizations. Its programs focus on General Shelton’s leadership cornerstones of honesty, integrity, diversity, compassion and social responsibility.

This year’s Red Hat Shelton Challenge will enroll about 800 high school students from across North Carolina. That number includes participants in a smaller Take II component, which is offered to students who have already spent a previous summer in the cornerstone program.

Challenge has had a tremendous impact

Most of the residential Challenge camps, which run six days, take place on NC State’s campus with a few sessions held in other locations.

Curriculum topics include personal leadership assessment and interpersonal dynamics, the role of values and ethics in leadership, leadership traits and approaches, team building and empowering others, social responsibility, public speaking and goal setting.

So many participants later enroll in the university that the center offers a Shelton Delegates initiative to keep them connected to one another as college students.

“There’s no question that the Challenge has had a tremendous impact – not just on the high school students who attend, but on the experiential learning for our college students who volunteer to help at these camps,” said Barbara Mulkey, who became director of the Shelton Leadership Center in 2016. “Our challenge is to keep this great program sustained in perpetuity and this gift brings us a long way toward that goal of full endowment. Red Hat wanted to honor General Shelton, and this program is very near and dear to his heart.”