Dress for Success
October 22, 2013
By: Mary Anne Fitzpatrick
Every fall, the dedicated and involved Alumni Board of the College of Arts and Sciences hosts a Career Evening for all of our undergraduate students. Alumni from across the state come to the campus to give our students advice about career pathways, help them practice their interviewing skills, and provide them with an understanding of how what they are learning in their English, chemistry, and history classrooms can translate into skills that are valued in the workplace. We have staff ready to discuss internships and explain how these opportunities might help to better position students for the job market after graduation. We also coordinate our activities with the larger USC Career Services Center in order to help our students take advantage of all of the career advice available to them on campus throughout the year.
The students who come to the event greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with our many successful and dedicated alumni and to learn about how to create portfolios for themselves during their college years that will help them in the future. However, with approximately 10,000 students in the College, the turnout for the Career Evening is always far less than we expect, and it appears that our deans, faculty, staff, and parents are all more concerned about the future opportunities available to our students than the students themselves.
As dean, I feel a strong responsibility to help our students realize the “utility” of a liberal arts education as one that helps them to hone their communication and analytical skills. I agree with Caroline “Biddy” Martin (2006) who said that studies in the liberal arts:
…enrich our relation to language, enhance our ability to integrate complex thought, give us occasions for wonder, and teach us the merits of patience and concentration. Is that useful? Only if we think a supple and expressive language, human curiosity, complex thought, reverence, and communication have value.
The success and achievements accomplished by the College of Arts and Sciences alumni who attended the Career Evening validate the quality of a liberal arts education, and I would like to publicly thank the alumni who continue to make the Career Evening a memorable and transformative event for the students who attend.