The Concept of Servant Leadership

In 1955 the Los Angeles Police Department adopted the motto “To Protect and to Serve.” The long standing mission statement of the Orange Police Department has been, “To protect life and property and to serve the public, always with integrity and professionalism, striving to achieve an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust and cooperation.” What does it mean to serve, and what part does leadership play in this notion?

The concept of servant leadership is one that I firmly believe is the true essence of leadership. Simply put, servant leadership means to meet the legitimate needs of those whom you are leading. This does not mean that a leader should try to make everyone happy by attempting to grant their every wish. What it does mean is that leaders need to serve and sacrifice for others, making the legitimate needs of others a priority that is put above all else. There has been a general deterioration in American society of leadership principles and concepts, with a corresponding lack of responsibility on the part of many of our country’s leaders. The media has been full of stories about leadership failures in all segments of society: parental, community, religious, corporate, and public service. While there are still many leaders that members of society can look up to, the failures in leadership are foremost in the minds of the general public. Leaders at all levels need to put aside their personal ambitions and self-serving ways; and in doing so, they can build the respect, trust and cooperation that is so crucial to effective leadership. It is in doing for others that we gain their loyalty and increase our ability to influence. When you consider the greatest leaders in history, those who come to mind are those who have served and sacrificed for others: Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, to name just a few. This formula for successful leadership is simple, yet highly effective. It truly is in giving that we ultimately receive.

The concept of servant leadership is one that we strongly believe in at the Orange Police Department. Our supervisors have been familiarized with this concept, and are held to the highest standards as they lead our officers. In turn, we hold our officers to the highest standards, encouraging them to put the needs of the public first, as we perform our public service. In doing so, we work to build the mutual respect, trust and cooperation called for in our mission statement.

The successful future of our society is incumbent upon the enormous responsibility that is entrusted to our leaders to create an environment in each of their respective areas of influence that puts the greater good above individual aspirations. By creating these environments, we foster the positive development of future generations, thus giving our lives meaning and purpose. When we choose to put others first, we build influence with them that results in the cooperation that needs to exist in order to achieve the accomplishment of our lofty goals.



gagne Robert J. Gagne has over thirty-five years of law enforcement experience with the Orange Police Department and has been the Chief of Police for the Department since 2006. He is a 2012 graduate of the Master of Arts in Leadership program at Albertus Magnus College. He is a member of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association and as past President of the South Central Chiefs of Police Association.

Mission Blog: Marney Tyrell

“Enhancing each student’s development, both as an individual and as a member of society”

As part of the ePortfolio classes Albertus Magnus College students have an opportunity to write about the mission statement of the college and how this statement impacts their lives now as college students and in the future. Student Marney Tyrell of Milford, member of the class of 2014, shared her thoughts on the College’s commitment to “enhancing each student’s development, both as an individual and as a member of society.”

The line from the mission statement that resonates with me is the following: “The College provides an educational environment dedicated to enhancing each student’s development, both as an individual and as a member of society.”

Since I have been at Albertus I have enhanced my development as a student in the way that I think about what I am learning. In one class my professor is extremely engaging in lectures in a way that makes students think deeply about what he is saying. Having teachers like this really helps students think critically about what is being said. Thinking in this way helps students’ process information and develop their own unique ideas.

I will live the mission by making sure what I learn is given back to society. For example, I will use the skills I learn in my major (art therapy) to help others in our society. Even though I will be helping individuals, they in turn will affect the lives of others. It is like a domino effect, one change affecting another change. Therefore, the larger society is affected and changed.

If I was talking to other students about Albertus I would say I feel that I have grown intellectually as a student since I have been going to school here.

Read more about Albertus’ Dominican Heritage here.

M.F.A. Musings

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention…

-Shakespeare, from the prologue to Henry V


O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate…

-Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, Line Eight

As I read the variety of final manuscripts produced by our M.F.A. graduates in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, I find myself wondering where does inspiration come from and how does it take root? Consider the Muses. At the beginning of the Odyssey and the Aeneid, the ancient Greek and Roman poets invoked these nine goddesses, each with her own specialty, to breathe life into their creations. Sometimes I wish I were on better terms with these deities, for they behave fickly toward me and many who toil in our M.F.A. program.

The modern writer may work without the ritual of invocation and yet ritual is not absent from our days. Some M.F.A. students type a little every morning, whether they feel called to or not. Some scribble in moments stolen from day jobs. Then there are those who work in all-night bursts of urgency that are exhilarating as long as they last. As Edna St. Vincent Millay put it in “First Fig”:

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

It gives a lovely light!

Often writing is less like pyromania and more like archaeology. And yet a magic one might call muse-ic exists. One minute we are patiently moving dust around, the next looking at the femur of Pharaoh. If there were not such moments we would not write.

Perhaps the comparison to ancient poets is too far removed. Consider instead the invention of cornflakes: corporate lore has it that W.K. Kellogg accidentally baked his porridge into flat flecks whose crispiness delighted not only fellow vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists, but everyone who loved crunch.

The flakes could not have been discovered had he not already been striving, yet neither could they have materialized without the happy accident.

Students come to our M.F.A. program because they subscribe to Louis Pasteur’s notion that fortune favors the prepared. When the universe that once smiled on Homer, Shakespeare, and Kellogg smiles on them, they are ready.

One needs more than a little luck to become a successful poet, a novelist, or a writer of memoir and yet almost no one ever became one accidentally.

Our Published Students

Bette Isacoff

Jennifer Hudson

Krista Surprenant

SN Review; Winter/Spring 2013 Edition

  • Seminole County, Florida
  • Planting Paper Flowers
  • Sitting in the Classroom

Blast Furnace Press; Volume 3 Issue 1

  • Third Street Miracle

Benjamin Christensen

  • The Blue Line - published in January 2012 by Static Movement
  • Snow & Cognac - published in March 2012 by Static Movement
  • Caves - published in March 2013 by Another Sky Press
  • Beautiful Thieves - published in September 2012 by Scars Publications
  • New Years - published in March 2013 by The Speculative Edge



Sarah Harris Wallman is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of the M.F.A. in Writing at Albertus Magnus College. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and the M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the Faculty Sponsor for both the Albertus Magnus College English Club and the College’s Breakwater literary journal. Professor Wallman’s published works include “Waiting for the Night Music” on She lives in New Haven with her husband and baby Ray.