The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Ribbon cut on new career center

Following a short dedication ceremony, SMU President R. Gerald Turner led the Hegi family and others in cutting the ribbon for the newly remodeled Hegi Family Career Development Center in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Tuesday afternoon.

Turner began the dedication ceremony by stressing the university’s commitment to supporting and sustaining student development and the students’ quality of life. The Hegi Family Career Development Center will help fulfill this commitment by helping students and alumni to prepare for their careers.

SMU Board of Trustees member, Ruth Altshuler, commented on how hard it is to find that first job with employers cutting back on jobs right now. The new career center will help students conquer this problem.

“We want our students to have the best opportunities in the world and they are going to have it,” she said.

Turner and SMU alumni, Fred and Jan Hegi, headed the planning and execution of the new center. Mr. Hegi explained how, after lots of planning, it became clear two criteria were necessary to get support for the center.

“The education process must begin with [first-year] orientation and continue through alumni,” he said. Some of the examples listed include teaching interview skills, developing entrepreneurships and internships and providing state-of-the-art facilities and services.

Hegi’s second criterion was the career center prove to be a model for private universities across the country. He is confident the criterion will be met.

James Caswell, vice president of student affairs, reviewed the SMU career center’s accomplishments.

o In 2001, SMU entered into an internship exchange program with 16 other schools. This program offers more than 13,000 internships.

o Online registration for career center services topped 2,400 students and alumni.

o SMU held a recruiting expo that brought in 98 companies and 1,400 students.

Changes to the center’s role in the university began this summer when the center’s staff spent most of July in AARO with students and parents discussing the importance of careers and the future.

Turner told him the two most popular questions parents ask are what SMU will do to prepare their child for a job and later, what did SMU do to prepare their child, Hegi said.

Although much work is left to be done in raising the $3 million, Turner is confident that the new and improved center will be a success.

Not only will services be provided to undergraduate students, but also to students with broader career interests, alumni and potential employers as well.

Jerry Alexander, director of the center, explained the career center is updated services.

“Monday through Thursday we will have drop-in hours with counselors on duty from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students will go over a checklist of activities and leave with a career action plan,” Alexander said.

SMU is increasing its outreach to employers and is offering two career weeks, the first of which is going on now and the second in late October. During the week, students can have resumes critiqued and attend workshops, an alumni career panel and a recruiting exposition.

The facilities have been improved as well. The center has been expanded and now includes six interview rooms and a conference room.

The principle donors to the center are the Hegis, both alumni of the class of 1966, who committed a lead gift of $1 million. The Hegis met each other as first-year students here at SMU, almost 40 years ago this week. During his time at SMU, Fred Hegi created friendships that he says are truly the closest and most important to him today.

The Senior Class Council for 2002 contributed $37,000 to the center.

“Because of our special feelings for the university, we wanted to play a small role in helping students,” Hegi said.

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