Renaissance Leadership & Rhetoric

Gonzaga offers you the unique opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy. You will study how powers collided during the 15th century, ultimately producing one of the most creative times in world history, the Renaissance. You will learn how leaders of the day managed conflict, and used influence to ultimately change business, art, architecture and music, and how those skills can be used in contemporary organizations.

Gonzaga University has its own campus in Florence. During this faculty led course, a typical day includes a few hours in the classroom and an afternoon museum tour. The evenings are yours to explore the culture of Florence. You will also travel to Siena and Rome and go on tours that include the Vatican and the Coliseum.

This is not a traditional study abroad program with a big, time commitment, this course is designed to fit your busy work schedule. Many of our students take a vacation from work to spend two weeks in Florence and the surrounding area. The program is affordable and you can use your financial aid toward the cost.


Meghan Semmens
Call or Text (509) 313-6245 or (866) 380-5323

Kathryn Callaghan
Call or Text: (509) 313-6235 or (866) 380-5323




Program Details:


  • May 26 - June 7, 2019

Estimated Costs:

  • Tuition: $2,880 – 3 credits
  • Program Fee: $2,370


  • Shared hotel accommodations in Florence and Rome
  • Museum entry fees
  • Some group meals and excursions
  • Group transportation from Rome to Florence
  • Day trip with lunch to Siena

Not included:

  • Airfare
  • Most meals
  • Textbooks
  • Personal expenses 


The courses are hybrid with online components beginning at the start of summer session. When you return home, you will continue to complete coursework.

ORGL 510 - Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century - 3 credits
Instructor: Michael Carey, Ph.D.

This course provides an examination of Renaissance leadership as it applies to contemporary organizations. Course study is designed for an interdisciplinary group of students to explore the power of Renaissance thinking as it applies to renewal, rediscovery, invention and creativity. This course will help emerging leaders develop new perspectives and strategies to bring health, creativity and energy to their organizations. Learners will draw upon the creative processes of artists - painters, architects, musicians and writers - and apply the same dynamics of creative thinking to the practical work of leaders in today’s organizations. Special emphasis will be given to the artists of the Italian Renaissance, especially as developed in the city of Florence.

Course Objectives:

  • Explain the dynamics involved in the creative process, especially as illustrated by the Italian Renaissance
  • Apply these dynamics to leadership in contemporary organizations
  • Draw upon an inter-disciplinary network of colleagues to process an integrative approach to the art of leadership 

COML 522 - Renaissance Rhetoric and Contemporary Leadership - 3 credits
Instructor: John Caputo, Ph.D.

Communication and leadership are closely intertwined, whether in our current period of post-modernity or during the European Renaissance. Fifteenth century Italy and Florence in particular, saw a flowering of the arts and scholarship unmatched in history. This can be seen in the rhetoric of art and architecture, religious preaching, political writing and oratory, and in the humanistic philosophy that emerges from it. Whether the fiery oratory of the Dominican Friar Savonarola trying to reform the republic of Florence, the famous letters of St. Catherine of Siena trying to persuade the Pope to repair a schism in the Church, Nicola Machiavelli’s The Prince as a primer on leadership, or Dante’s Inferno which looks at where bad people and bad behavior will lead -- all provide an amazing repository of examples of the birth of humanism and its influence on persuasive discourse to lead social progress. This course examines this period through readings, discussions, and on-site visits to historical settings in Florence and Siena in order to formulate the critical questions necessary to bring these ideas to our contemporary world. Using the Italian Renaissance as the canvas we will study multiple examples of rhetoric, both written and visual.


  • Explain the role of rhetoric in leadership
  • Recognize the multiple artifacts that operate as visual communication and persuasion in Florence, Rome and Siena
  • Rhetorically analyze a specific renaissance artifact
  • Describe the influence of classical rhetoric in the lives of the leaders in renaissance Italy.
  • Explain the role rhetoric can play in effective leadership in contemporary America.