Hope in leadership

Ron C. Hamilton.

Through his HOPE Fellowship, Ron C. Hamilton is giving underrepresented MBA students a chance to become leaders.

As an accomplished executive leading global teams, Ron C. Hamilton, MBA ’94, BS ’94, has observed that successful leaders have well-developed soft skills, which are necessary to bring diverse teams of people together toward common goals.

“Skilled leaders have the ability to collaborate and communicate with different groups of people to get the best solutions,” explains Hamilton. “They can read the environment and adjust accordingly. You might be born with leadership attributes and not know it until those skills are developed through education and mentorship.”

Those are opportunities Hamilton himself almost didn’t get.  

“My parents had not gone to university,” says Hamilton. “So when I shared with people in my neighborhood and faith community that I wanted to go to college, I was met with skepticism and told it wouldn’t be an option for me. I didn’t want that to be my truth. That’s what fueled me to find the resources I needed at UB. Financing should never be a barrier to someone having a good academic experience.”

That’s why Hamilton chose to endow the Ron C. HOPE (Harnessing Opportunity, Potential and Equity) Fellowship in Business Leadership to be awarded annually to an MBA student from an underrepresented community who is committed to following a leadership track. The fellowship recipient will be chosen by the dean of the School of Management in partnership with the managing director of UB’s innovative LeaderCORE™, a personal and professional leadership program.  

“Leadership is more than just a title,” says Hamilton. “It’s a way to drive change in any arena. As we talk about diversity and inclusion, we need leaders capable of creating systems that make things better. When people feel like they belong, they bring their best ideas to the table. Great innovation and resilience happen when we encourage this kind of behavior and interaction. My hope is for more of those kinds of leaders to emerge from UB.”  

Hamilton’s generosity extends to his time as well. He serves on the leadership roundtable at the Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, is a member of the School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council and is a frequent speaker at student events. He says his motivations to remain so involved are not only the belief that his UB education truly prepared him to lead, but also the cultural awareness and leadership skills he’s seeing in current MBA students.

Students working together around a laptop at a table.


“Ron’s support shows students how important soft skills are for the world of work. This commitment underscores just how important this work is and helps students dedicate the time necessary to grow and develop.”

-Jaimie Falzarano, Managing Director of LeaderCORE.