Career Resource Center to Benefit from $2M Gift

Wesleyan’s old Squash Building, built in 1934, is scheduled to be renovated during the 2010-11 academic year. It will house the Career Resource Center. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

A generous $2 million gift to Wesleyan will greatly enhance the ability of the Career Resource Center to serve students in a planned new home at the center of campus.

The anonymous gift from Wesleyan parents will endow the programs of the center, which will be located in the old Squash Building at the north end of College Row. Part of Wesleyan’s historic brownstone row, this building is scheduled for renovation beginning in the 2010-11 academic year.

“The Career Resource Center has an essential role in helping students translate their intellectual interests into productive work and career aspirations,” says Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “We are deeply grateful for the support of our donors, who recognize the importance of that translation.”

The Career Resource Center is known for its innovative programming. It has been nominated for a NACE (National Association of College and Employers) National Award for its Senior Survival Month 2009 —a month-long series of daily events and workshop focused on getting seniors ready for life after graduation. In this academic year, 70 percent of Wesleyan students have used its services; 50 percent of first-year students have visited the center.

The donors cited career counseling as an important consideration for applicants to Wesleyan and said, “We hope our gift will help connect students to Wesleyan’s many accomplished alumni in various fields, and will lead to more international opportunities for students, which is key in the global economy.”

The new location will give the center a much higher profile on campus than does its current location in Butterfield Colleges, according to Michael Sciola, director of the center. Located at the busiest intersection on campus (next to the Usdan University Center and the Center for the Arts), the new site is being designed as a career exploration and planning center for the 21st century.

Architecturally, the new facility will present a glass-wall exterior overlooking the plaza area of the Usdan University Center. The large, open design of the center’s main space can easily serve as both a bustling drop-in advising center and a state-of-the-art event and programming space supported by the latest technology. Plans for the new facility call for multiple-site videoconferencing so that, for example, students in Middletown will be able to carry on a live videoconference session about international careers with alumni in London, Hong Kong, and Australia.

“A strong career resource center is essential to helping our graduates find rewarding careers that build on their education in the liberal arts,” says Sciola. “Thanks to our generous donors, we will be able to offer the best level of service to students available anywhere.”

Wesleyan is raising additional funds from donors to support the renovation of the Squash Building, which also will house the College of Letters and Art History. The project will bring back to use a historically important building designed by the noted firm of McKim Mead and White Architects.