Signature Events

The following events are keystones of the Presidential Leadership Academy:

PLA students at orientation


On the Sunday before fall classes begin, Academy students meet to prepare for the upcoming year. New students learn about requirements, policies and programs, as well as leadership field trip opportunities and leadership events planned for the year. Orientation includes team building and mingling activities for both new and returning students.

Nittany Lion Inn plate at the PLA etiquette dinner

Etiquette Dinner

Ever wonder which fork or glass to use? Every fall, the Academy holds an etiquette dinner for each new class. This interactive program prepares students for interviews, business dinners and the Academy field trips.

PLA welcome message on the scoreboard at Fenway Park in Boston

Field Trips

The Academy organizes two to three field trips annually, each designed to give students a broader perspective on socio-political issues and exposure to a myriad of leadership styles. Students are required to participate in at least three field experiences during their three years with the PLA.

Essence of Joy signing at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Banquet

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Banquet

Each year, the PLA provides students with the opportunity to attend the Memorial Banquet at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A cannon on the battlefields of Gettysburg

Gettysburg Trip

Every two years, second-year PLA students participate in a one-day trip to the Gettysburg Battlefield. This trip gives students a strategic overview of the battle and attempts to explain events that led to the final days of the battle. Our guides for the trip are retired Army Col. Dr. Jeffrey McCausland and retired Army Col. Tom Vossler.

PLA students talking to one another at the Spring Reception held at Schreyer House

Spring Reception

A reception is held every April where all Academy students can come together to meet the new class and interact with our founders, Ed and Helen Hintz, and Academy Advisory Board members. It is a great time for new Academy students to mingle with current students shortly after they are accepted into the program.

Program and medal from PLA Graduation Ceremony

Graduation Ceremony

Students who have successfully completed three years with the PLA are recognized each spring semester for meeting all Academy requirements and earning the Presdential Leadership Academy certificate. A ceremony is held at the Nittany Lion Inn for students and their family members.