Donald R. (Bob) Scheid

On the Subject of Leadership

Bob Scheid with his late wife, Bonnie.

Growing up in the suburbs outside Chicago, former United Board Trustee Bob Scheid didn’t expect “the outreach to the world” that he experienced through his military service and a long corporate career. However, the chronology of his life shows that, after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in metallurgical engineering, he spent nearly 20 years working and living outside the United States. Postings in Japan, Italy, the Philippines, and Brazil, combined with assignments in the United States, put him in contact with people from varied cultures and backgrounds and challenged him to develop effective leadership skills.

“Leadership is one of my favorite subjects,” Mr. Scheid said in a recent interview. “Leadership is needed in any endeavor, whether in government, a corporation, a bank, a hospital, or a family.” Over the course of the years, he has refined his ideas on leadership into “the 4 C’s of quality leadership”:

  • Craftsmanship: A leader needs to know the tools of the trade and how to apply them.
  • Courage: Through personal courage, a leader faces problems and realistically deals with them.
  • Character: A leader is a genuine person, with honesty, integrity, and moral values.
  • Communication: A leader needs to be able to connect with people.

Leadership development is a key focus for the United Board, and its programs help Asian higher education leaders develop the vision and skills needed to deliver whole person education. That approach resonates with Mr. Scheid. “The United Board’s emphasis on whole person education – intellectual, spiritual, ethical education – impresses me and fits right into my views,” he said, and added that “what is unique about the United Board is the Christian element.”

That Christian identity also can be seen as an imperative to expand access to education because, as Mr. Scheid points out, what separates the “haves” from the “have-nots” of the world will be increasingly defined by the level of education one attains. “We need to make education accessible to the ‘have-nots’ – we have to make that happen,” Mr. Scheid believes, and the compassionate servant-leaders who embody his “4 C’s” can help translate that goal into a reality.

Mr. Scheid has been a faithful contributor to the United Board since his 1979-1981 tenure as a United Board trustee. “I have always admired and will always support what the United Board does,” he said, and through his gifts of unrestricted support, he is helping the United Board invest in the talents and ambitions of future leaders for Asian higher education.