As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2022, Lavar Thomas, an international business studies major from Brooklyn, New York, has not had the typical student experience at UD due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thomas, and his entire class, have shown incredible resilience, maturity and spirit while adjusting to the many unexpected changes that they have encountered as students. Each installment of this series will profile an outstanding member of this class, showcasing their achievements, experiences at UD and what it means to be a Blue Hen.
Lavar Thomas was nominated for this series by UD Senior Assistant Dean of Global Programs and Partnerships Jennifer Gregan, who said, “Lavar is outstanding in my eyes because of his achievements in advancing diversity at UD. His impact will be felt for years to come through the integration of his organization, Leaders of the Free World (LFW), into the fabric of the community.
“Lavar’s immediate impact can be seen over the past two years through working with UD’s Career Services team. Lavar and his LFW co-founder launched the inaugural Global Leadership Conference, which promotes diversity in global leadership positions. He has also worked with our Center for Global Programs and Services team where they launched an innovative leadership program that includes a two-week study abroad in Ghana,” Gregan continued. “Due to Lavar’s efforts, five students are participating in the first UD cohort of the multi-institution Ghana Leadership program and a scholarship has been endowed to support this program at UD.”
In this profile, Thomas shared his favorite UD memories, how he has changed during his time at UD and his plans following graduation.
Lerner: How have you grown from your freshman year at UD to now?
Thomas: As a Lerner graduate student at UD, I’ve learned to manage grad school while working full-time effectively. During my two years at UD, I’ve grown as an entrepreneur, student and leader. I’ve developed my mindset around entrepreneurship and the skills required to lead a global enterprise throughout my graduate program. Overall, I’ve learned to be more patient with myself and my journey, recognize that nothing happens before it is time, and trust my process.
Lerner: Were you involved in any extracurricular activities? If so, how did they shape your experience at UD?
Thomas: As an online student, I had the opportunity to participate in Horn Entrepreneurship’s VentureOn and UD’s Hen Hatch pitch competition. Both activities have enabled me to leave my comfort zone and meet like-minded social entrepreneurs who are seeking to address social problems through their start-ups.
Lerner: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?
Thomas: To be a “Lifelong Lerner” is to have a personal commitment to growth and development. It is the active pursuit of acquiring knowledge and applying that insight for the betterment of myself and others.
Lerner: What was the most memorable course that you took at Lerner?
Thomas: The most memorable course I have taken at Lerner is Startup Experience with Professor Vince DeFelice.
Lerner: What was your favorite UD experience?
Thomas: My favorite UD experience was presenting as a breakout session speaker for the annual Change Makers conference.
Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?
Thomas: After graduation, I plan to utilize my degree as I continue to grow and expand my nonprofit’s mission to provide international experiences and leadership development to young Black males.