A pinning ceremony and the launch of a new speaker series are among the upcoming events planned for students in the inaugural Global Leaders cohort at Missouri Southern State University.

Launched at the start of the fall semester, students are invited to participate in Global Leaders based on a combination of ACT and GPA scores. Each participating student will have access to $4,000 in private funds that can be used toward international travel, leadership development, undergraduate research or travel to academic conferences.

The 21 students in the first cohort will participate in a pinning ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, in Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase these students and acknowledge them as the first cohort,” said Ryan Orcutt, director of the Global Leaders program. “We want to give insight into who (these students) are and where we want to be at the end of the year.”

The Global Leaders Speaker Series will begin with a presentation by Vice Admiral Jeffrey E. Trussler at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, in Billingsly Student Center’s Phelps Theatre.

Trussler serves as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare/Director of Naval Intelligence. A native of Miami, Okla., he was commissioned at the Officer Candidate School in 1985.

His previous shore and staff assignments include Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Fleet nuclear propulsion examining board, two tours at the Navy Personnel Command, the Joint Staff and the Navy Staff. In 2006, he received the Naval Submarine League’s Rear Adm. Jack Darby Award for Inspirational Leadership and Excellence in Command. He assumed his current duties in June 2020.

“A major component of the program is to allow our students to engage with and listen to leaders on a national and international scale,” said Orcutt. “(Trussler) is a very compelling individual with an extensive leadership background. He will speak about the idea of both leadership and having a global perspective.”

The speaker series will continue with Shawn Askinosie at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, in Webster Hall’s Corley Auditorium.

In 2006, Askinosie left a successful career as a criminal defense attorney to start a bean-to-bar chocolate factory. His company, Askinosie Chocolate, was recently named by Forbes as “One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America.” He is a Family Brother at Assumption Abby, a Trappist monastery near Ava, Mo., and co-founder of Lost & Found, a grief center now in its 20th year of serving children and families in Southwest Missouri.

The pinning ceremony is by invitation only; however, both Speaker Series events are open to the public.