The Institute™ by Leadershape®

The LeaderShape®  Institute™ is a nationally-recognized leadership development retreat.

The lllinois Leadership® Center coordinates a special session each year for Illinois undergraduate students, held at the Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello, IL. The 2024 session will take place January 9-12, 2024. 

Applications for the 2024 session will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, November 5.


click here to apply


This retreat provides participants the opportunity for self-discovery, self-reflection and feedback in a community of approximately 60 peers. Not a typical leadership retreat, the Institute is grounded in helping individuals identify the values they hold that lead to making a difference in the communities around them. Through self-assessment, intensive small group discussions, team building challenges, and more, participants will develop a vision for something they care about.

By leading with passion, integrity, and a healthy disregard for the impossible, participants explore who they are and the impact that they want to have on communities working towards a more caring, just and equitable society.

Learn more about the LeaderShape®  Institute™ at

Read testimonies from previous participants at

group photo of the 2020 participants


How to Participate

Current Students

Students must apply to participate in The Institute - see above.

About 60 Illinois students are selected each year to participate in our session of The Institute. Students are selected and sponsored financially by their respective colleges, departments, or units. This sponsorship includes transportation to and from the Allerton Park and Retreat Center and the Urbana-Champaign campus as well as room and board.

For the retreat, participants are placed into small groups or “Family Clusters.”


University of Illinois Faculty, Staff, Alumni, or Local Community Members

Cluster Facilitators, who are typically University of Illinois faculty, staff, alumni, or local community members, serve as each group’s resource, catalyst, and coach. 

click here if you are interested in being a cluster facilitator







Frequently Asked Questions

What does a typical day look like?

Most days begin with breakfast at 7:45 AM and end around 9:00 or 10:00 PM. Participants can expect to engage in team building activities, group discussions and exercises, and individual reflections each day of the program. Daily meals, snacks and other refreshments are also provided to participants throughout each day.


Where is the program held?

It is held at the Allerton Park Retreat Center in Monticello, Illinois. Round-trip transportation, housing, and three daily meals will be provided for all participants. Learn more about Allerton Park here at


How much does the program cost?

Participants will be selected and sponsored financially by their respective colleges, departments, or units, so participants do not pay to attend.


Can I arrive later or leave early from The Institute?

No, participants must be able to attend the entirety of the program. Applicants must agree to this expectation when completing the application form in order to be considered eligible.


Can graduate students attend The Institute?

No, this program is only open to Illinois undergraduate students.


For more information about applying to The Institute, contact the Illinois Leadership Center at 217-333-0604 or