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Grand opening set for business career center

April 18, 2008

KALAMAZOO--While corporate leaders from around West Michigan and the nation will gather on the Western Michigan University campus April 25 to help open the Career Center at the Haworth College of Business, it will be a WMU student who handles the actual ribbon cutting.

Construction on the $2.6 million Career Center, built entirely with private funds, has just been completed after months of construction in Schneider Hall, home to the Haworth college. Visiting executives and University officials will gather at 3 p.m. Friday, April 25, to see the results and formally open the center that is expected to become a major job resource for both students and employers.

The center has been designed to offer WMU business students and those trying to recruit them the kind of resources commonly found in the nation's leading business schools, says Dr. David Shields, dean of the Haworth College of Business.

Joining Shields for the formal opening will be WMU President John M. Dunn, who will deliver brief remarks, and Shannon Lapsley, a representative of the college's Student Leadership Advisory Board, who will handle the ribbon cutting. Lapsley is a junior sales and business marketing major form Saline, Mich.

"This center is really all about jobs and developing the kind of long-term relationships with employers that will serve both them and our students," says Shields. "Our college is fortunate to have the kind of support from alumni that has made it possible to quickly make this very real need a reality. Our alumni and supporters wanted a state-of-the-art facility for our students, so it's appropriate to have one of our students formally open the center."

Several senior leaders of the college's business advisory panel will be in attendance. They include: Robert Bobb, chief executive officer of Cardinal Growth L.P. in Chicago; John Boll, president of the G.A. Richards Group of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Richard Haworth, chairman of the board of Haworth Inc. of Holland, Mich.; William D. Johnston, president and CEO of Greenleaf Companies of Kalamazoo; and Thomas M. Thornton, president and chief executive officer of Aerotek Inc., based in Maryland.

The center, Shields says will offer a range of services for students that include resume and interviewing skill development and coaching on items that range from dress and dining etiquette to aligning students interests and aptitudes with potential careers.

For employers, he says, the center will offer the benefit of recruiting in a situation set up specifically for their needs, where there are few logistical impediments and where the quality of their interview schedule is guaranteed. He expects the setting to attract top-flight employers who often limit the number of schools they visit to maximize return on recruiting dollars.

"We going to be offering recruiters top-to-bottom quality of their interview schedule, where virtually every interviewee is highly qualified and ready to accept a good offer," he says. "And a major focus will be to connect employers with students in a variety of ways throughout our students' academic careers."

Linda Ickes, a veteran of WMU's Career and Student Employment Services, has been tapped to head the center. Ickes, who earned a bachelor's degree in business education and a master's degree in communication from WMU, has been a career services specialist at WMU since 1998 and has had the business college as one of her primary areas of responsibility.

Tours of the Career Center, which is located on the second floor of Schneider Hall will be available immediately following the brief opening ceremony.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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