Robert Horne ‘14PHD on the Importance of Servant Leadership in Counseling

Robert Horne won an award for lifetime leadership

Robert Horne ’14PHD has spent his life trying to “be a better servant.”

Before helping to shape future counselors as an assistant professor of counselor education at North Carolina Central University, he spent 16 years in the Marine Corps and three decades working as a pastoral counselor focused on addiction and mental health issues.

About Robert Horne

Role: Assistant Professor of Counselor Education, North Carolina Central University

Education: Ph.D., NC State College of Education; Master of Divinity, Duke University; Master of Arts in Agency Counseling, North Carolina Central University; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Florida A&M University.

Why He Chose Education: “We pay it forward, but we also need to pay it back and make sure everybody is prepared to be better than we are. I tell my students, ‘Don’t be as good as me; be better.’”

“I believe in servant leadership. It’s the job of a leader to bring out the best in people,” he said. “I prosper, you prosper and the world prospers when we try to make the world better. I really do try to live by that.”

Horne has spent years working to help not only those in his backyard, but people around the world. In 2017, he participated in a 10,000-mile motorcycle ride around the United States to raise awareness and funds for mental health and substance abuse issues in underserved communities. And, for more than a decade, he has traveled regularly to Africa to train nonpractitioners to provide counseling in underserved regions.

“It’s a win-win for me because it provides me the opportunity to travel, which I enjoy. It provides me the opportunity to help others, which I enjoy doing. And it helps the community to have the knowledge and resources to help,” he said.

His desire to help nonpractitioners develop tools and skills to help their communities was one reason he decided to earn his Ph.D. from the NC State College of Education. The fact that his professors asked what he wanted to focus on and supported his ultimate goals, Horne said, was the biggest benefit of the program.

“One of the things I wanted to learn was how to develop programs for nonpractitioners to help them deal with mental health issues,” he said. “The professors really focused on helping you be your most authentic self.”

In May, Horne’s dedication to servant leadership was honored through the National Board of Certified Counselors’ first Bridging the Gap Award for Lifetime Leadership. It’s an award, he said, that both recognizes the work he has done and serves as a reminder to continue working for the benefit of others.

“It creates this sense of ‘I need to continue to live out this example,’ he said. Having received the award makes it that much more relevant and that much more important.”