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Career Development Center Ribbon Cutting

August 23, 2016

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the Metroplex’s fastest rising university, a Carnegie R-1 institution, with nationally ranked programs, renowned faculty, and now with a game-changing Career Development Center.

And, yes, I said “Career Development Center” and not Career Center because this Center changes the existing paradigm.  Career Centers provide an important service – we all went to them to get our resumes reviewed and to try to get an interview – most often either a week before graduation or a week after graduation when we realized that we had to obtain a job.  They were good but they were transactional, not transformative.  The new Career Development Center is far more than just a location for resumes and interviews – it will engage with students from their very first day at UTA, enabling them to not only to get to know about the full range of careers but learn about opportunities from our corporate and non-profit partners.

The Career Development Center will provide key growth opportunities to students throughout their academic journey and post-graduation. Corporations and their representatives will provide lectures on different types of professions, expand internship placements, and help provide that employment-ready polish that businesses expect and for which students strive. UTA alumni will add extensive value as mentors, guides, and resources for career advancement in the tradition of the elite Ivy League institutions.

The concept was developed through extensive discussions with recruiters, corporate representatives and non-profit partners who spent countless hours talking to us about what they wanted and how we might better serve them.  Perhaps, for the first time, a Center was envisaged from the point of view of the employer rather than the provider of the would-be employee.  I’d like to thank Ashley Purgason, Salma Adem, and Tim Quinnan who led this effort listening, discussing, learning, distilling input and developing a plan for a new beginning.

The Center that you see in front of you will be transformational – not just for our students but also for alums, since it will serve both. And it will ensure that our graduates are not just the best prepared in their fields but are the most sought after by employers.

Projects like this are never the result of just the university.  We owe a debt of gratitude to a large number of donors who contributed funding to make this possible.  Thank you for your investment in our students, and in the future of this region for in enabling this Center you are assuring a steady stream of very highly skilled, well prepared students - academically, intellectually and socio-culturally, ready to enter the workforce and accelerate the tremendous economic drive in DFW.  I see a number of you here today – Brian, Jim, Karen, and Kent – we really appreciate your support and friendship.

Let me also thank John Hall and the entire facilities team, Tom McCarty, Principal at LBL Architects, and Brad Wendler, Senior Project Manager from Vaughn Construction.  They took a concept and transformed it into reality – with concrete, bricks, glass, and aluminum giving form to what will undoubtedly be the latest catalyst in the acceleration of excellence at UTA.

Let me also thank Tim Quinnan, Lisa Nagy, and the Student Affairs Team who have worked so hard these past few months to give life to the idea and ensure that the goals set for the Career Development Center are met through their talented staff.  In the 2015-16 academic year we awarded over 11,500 degrees – all in fields of critical need to the Metroplex and region.  This makes UTA the third largest provider of highly skilled intellectual capital in the state, and in the years to come this Center will ensure that these students are not just well-prepared academically but also with the appropriate skills to enable them to be the very best in the work force.

UTA is often described as an institution of IDEAS – representing innovation, diversity, excellence, access and student success – today we add one more brick to our vision of being a pre-eminent location that inspires bold solutions with global impact through creative scholarship, transformative access, and collaborative learning.

This is an exciting time, a time for strategic action, and for re-envisioning not just the future of academe but also the partnerships between the university and the community it serves.  UTA is fortunate to have a very close relationship with the city of Arlington.  This is a cherished partnership between the “American Dream City” and its R-1 University and one that will grow in strength and continue to yield tremendous benefits to the region in the years ahead.

I’m pleased that Mayor Williams is here today to share in the celebration. Elected to office in 2015 after decades of public service, Mayor Williams has been a tremendous builder of partnerships, a champion for Arlington, and a strong ambassador for all that is excellent in our city.  He led the successful AISD School Bond election committee in 2014 emphasizing the importance he places on education and has been in close and continuous discussions with John Hall and me on how the city can assist its University continue to grow in pre-eminence.  I have full confidence that under his leadership in city hall UTA will accelerate its journey to pre-eminence even further – a city and its university joined at the hip with a single purpose of being the very best – now that’s an unbeatable combination.  Please help me welcome our mayor, and a person I count as one of UTA’s strongest friends, advocates and supporters – Mayor Jeff Williams.