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Leadership associate director returns to College to train leaders

By monét cooper

It has been almost 30 years since Thomas “T.J.” Prince ‘75 left Morehouse to make his way through South Asia, five years since he left the College for a position at the Morehouse School of Medicine and five months since he started his new job as associate director of The Leadership Center.

Prince, a longtime student of Eastern wisdom and martial arts who often quotes the Roman philosopher Seneca, would use his words to describe the path that has returned him to the College: I am never standing still, but I always know my center.

Against the white walls of his office hang various odes to his travels and interest in Asian meditation and art: a large, colorful fan with a matte wooden handle and two discordant dragons splashed across its black background, a quiet photograph of small South Asian man, his deceased friend and spiritual teacher.

After a 10-year tenure as associate director of the Counseling and Learning Skills Center, Prince left the College in 2000 to work at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Three years after working at MSM, he returned to the College in October 2004 and he now aids in designing student leadership programs and implementing areas of the center’s curriculum.

It’s not the typical path of a licensed clinical psychologist, but for Prince, leadership is all about people. Listening, having empathy and being able to understand what others need are what he considers essential to becoming a leader. And he’s spent much of his life doing just that--attempting to comprehend the human condition.

“What matters in leadership are the soft skills--the relationship skills. I’m involved in the development of student leaders and want them to get involved in what their story is,” said Prince. “What motivates them is an important part of training them to become leaders. I want to help them develop insight into their own personalities.

“Being a leader is like being a martial artist--you have to be good in resolving conflict. To be good with people, you have to be emotionally intelligent and be a good judge of human character.”

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