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story.lead_photo.caption William Woods University's Show-Me Guard Officer Leadership Development began classes this week with the largest enrollment the new program has seen. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

William Woods University's Show-Me Guard Officer Leadership Development began classes this week with the largest enrollment the new program has seen.

As of the 2020 spring semester, 11 are enrolled, a comparable number to what other Missouri universities enrolled during the first year of the GOLD program on their campuses. University leadership touted this as "a measure of progress for the historic partnership between WWU and the Missouri National Guard."

"We are pleased at the growth we are experiencing in the Show Me GOLD program at William Woods, which benefits both the university in terms of enrollment and the State of Missouri by providing commissioned officers to the Missouri National Guard," said Scott Zimmerman, instructor of leadership and military studies at William Woods. "As one of only five Missouri universities to offer Show-Me GOLD and the only one in mid-Missouri, we are confident about our future prospects at The Woods."

WWU announced the establishment of the Show-Me GOLD program in August 2018, becoming the first private institution to host the program.

Designed to train and prepare young men and women to serve as commissioned officers in the Missouri National Guard, the Show-Me GOLD program first began being offered at William Woods during the fall 2019 semester. The university opened its on-campus headquarters for the program last year.

The addition of the Show-Me GOLD program has yielded additional benefits to all WWU students, regardless of major, Zimmerman said. Last fall, the university began offering a minor in leadership and military studies, specifically designed for students who are not planning on joining the National Guard or embarking on a military career but desire military-level leadership skills.

Closely linked with the GOLD program, the new minor offers military-style leadership training to students through academic and hands-on environments.

"Our Leadership and Military Studies minor is providing graduates with a competitive advantage over their peers when seeking employment, offering the benefits of leadership training to all William Woods students," Zimmerman said. "Graduates with the Leadership and Military Studies minor will be ready to assume leadership positions immediately upon graduation."

Zimmerman said WWU takes pride in its status as an official military friendly university. Last fall, the university began offering the Triumph Program, a partnership between WWU and Missouri Military Academy in which MMA students are able to take college courses and earn college credit at William Woods while still high school students.

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