Brendan Boler / McIntire School of Commerce

Proposal Lead a student trip to Gettysburg, PA for a guided tour of the famous civil war battlefield, led by a hired professional Gettysburg Foundation tour guide.

Motivation – As a management scholar, much of my work focuses on the social psychology of judgment and decision making as well and persuasion and influence.   My fascination with these topics can be traced to my experience as an officer in the U.S. Army after attending Georgetown University on an Army ROTC scholarship.  Cadets read and discussed Michael Shaara’s book, The Killer Angels, about the Battle of Gettysburg, and we wrote a short paper about a portion of the book where some of the U.S. Army’s 14 Leadership traits were successfully or unsuccessfully applied, including:

1. Bearing   2. Courage   3. Decisiveness   4. Dependability 5. Endurance   6. Enthusiasm   7. Initiative   8. Integrity   9. Judgment 10. Knowledge 11. Justice   12. Loyalty  13. Tact   14. Unselfishness.

My paper focused on the valiant actions taken by members of the 20th Main Infantry Regiment during their defense of “Little Round Top”.  Exhausted, outnumbered, and running out of ammunition they followed the orders of their leader, Joshua Chamberlin, and charged the advancing confederate army with fixed bayonets to successfully thwart the rebel advance.  These actions were not only decisive to winning the battle, but, arguably, ultimately winning the war. Joshua Chamberlin was eventually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions. 

My fellow cadets spent a day and half in Gettysburg touring the battlefield with our Professor of Military Science. My Dream Idea is to facilitate a similar experience with incredible impact on participating students.

Student Selection – Three fourth-year McIntire students will be selected with faculty input.  Selection criteria will be applied to individuals who have submitted an essay about why they would like to attend.  Special preference will be given to McIntire students who are also military veterans or current ROTC cadets.  

Learning Objective – To gain key insights into strategic and tactical decisions that led to victory in this pivotal battle and links to modern day managerial decision making.

Preparation – Students will read The Killer Angels and attend two 75 minute discussions on the book. During the van ride to the battlefield, students will watch the 1993 film, “Gettysburg” which was based on Shaara’s novel.

Deliverables After the trip, students will co-write an article about their experience that will be published on the COMMERCE school website.


Mini-Van Rental =$400

Lodging 4 people x $200/person x 2 nights= $1,600 

Food: 4 people x 3 days x $50/person-day = $600

Bus Tour of the Battlefield = $400

Projected total trip expenses= $3,000