On Friday, University alumni, Board of Trustees members, faculty, students, and Middletown officials attended the grand opening of the 41 Wyllys Avenue building. The building, which contains the Career Center, the College of Letters, and the Art History Department, has been available for use since Jan. 26. The grand opening event was followed by a career symposium held on Saturday.
Director of the Career Center Mike Sciola expressed excitement about the number of alumni who attended the weekend’s events.
“I thought it went really well,” he said. “We were really pleased with all the alumni coming and I thought all of the speeches were excellent.”
The building was officially opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by President Michael Roth, Sciola, and others. University faculty, staff, alumni, and students attended the celebration, which included a reception and several room dedications. During the reception, several alumni expressed their enthusiasm for the success of the project.
“I love it,” said Board of Trustees member Donna Morea ’76. “It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it was on time and on budget, which is extremely rare for the complexity of the project. It’s a great addition to the Wesleyan experience to have a rich career program.”
Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Boger ’73 said that he was also pleased with the new building.
“When we talked about this at the board level we wanted to do what benefited the students most, and I think [the Career Center] really will,” Boger said.
The event was planned to coincide with the February Board of Trustees meeting to include more alumni in the festivities. Many participants were excited by the turnout and emphasized the importance of strong student-alumni relationships.
“This place changed my life and I want to give something back,” said Steve McCarthy ’75. “[Working with] the Career Center is one way to do that.”
President Michael Roth also stressed how important it was for alumni to help students with their careers after college.
“It’s a great time for Wesleyan to help our students be prepared for a difficult job market, and one of the best things students can do in such a job market is to use the Wesleyan alumni network,” Roth said.
During the Saturday symposium, several alumni gave presentations on their work and how they ended up in their current professions. The speakers included Spencer Stuart Director James Citrin P’12, P’14 and MTV President Stephen Friedman ’91, who gave the keynote address.
“I was really looking forward to the career forums,” said Raghu Appasani ’12. “I think they should try and have them more often—it’s a great idea to bring in alumni and to connect them with students.”
During his speech, Friedman talked about how he came to be president of MTV and provided career advice to current seniors. He emphasized the importance of taking risks and pursuing one’s passions. Friedman also discussed his work on an MTV campaign to raise awareness about the Darfur genocide that included collaboration with the Clinton administration.
Following the keynote address, there were career forums on a variety of fields, including business and management, social service, science and technology, health and medicine, law and public service, education, and communication and media. Sciola said that, while he thought the event was a success overall, he was disappointed with the student turnout at Freidman’s speech.
“I did wish that more students had come to see Stephen Friedman,” Sciola said. “Of the 250 students who pre-registered, only about half actually came. I understand that Saturdays are busy for students, but he talked about exactly what we’re trying to do [at the Career Center]. I think they really could have enjoyed it.”
Sciola said that he hoped this event would happen again in the future. He is considering Homecoming weekend and the days prior to Reunion and Commencement weekend as other possible dates for this type of Career Center event.
“We haven’t set any official dates, but we would like to see this happen again,” Sciola said.