By Ferris McDaniel | LSU Student
Saying it will further make the LSU Student Union Building the campus hub, Chancellor Mike Martin Thursday launched the groundbreaking of the $1.5 million Olinde Career Center that will be housed in the space now occupied by the university book store.
The new career center will merge separate career services facilities in the Coates Hall basement and Patrick F. Taylor Hall into one location when it is completed next summer. The campus book store will relocate to a new building across Highland Road from the Student Union.
"This gift is very special to LSU," said Martin in reference to the lead contribution from the Olinde family that owns furniture stores in Baton Rouge.
Martin said the family's contribution is not just a gift — "it's an investment. The Career Center is an investment in future generations who will return the favor with success and by making a difference in the world"
Louisiana ranks 46th in the percentage of its population with a Bachelor's degrees, said Martin, noting that with the Career Center the University has a combination that will transform the state — "an institution that can produce students and a center that can place them."
Director of LSU Career Services Mary Feduccia said plans for the new center began in 2003 when former Chancellor Mark Emmert developed the idea of the LSU Flagship Agenda.
Emmert challenged each college and department to use as a benchmark 10 peer flagship institutions, Feduccia said. The university studied career services programs at these institutions, she said, and realized that LSU needed a career center.
"We need to do this for our students, for our employers, for our alumni so that the number one reason that students come to college can be satisfied," Feduccia said. "And that is to be able to have a good career."
Kurt Keppler, vice chancellor for Student Life and Enrollment Services, said the old, reclusive Career Services locations did not yield a convenient central location, but he predicted the new center will be in the most populated place on campus, the student union.
Fedducia said currently there are students who never knew Career Services exists until they stumbled across it during their senior year but that the future location will help solve that problem.
Keppler said the Olinde Career Center will be a game changer for students."The Career Services Center takes students from recruitment to graduation. It helps our students through all walks of life."
Keppler said the career center will offer students help with choosing a major, looking for internships, drafting resumes, finding part time jobs, the employment process through career expos and offers an inventory of instruments to learn about interest areas.
Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development Stephen Moret said he often visited Career Services as an undergraduate student. "It would be difficult to overstate the impact the staff had on my experience at LSU and launching my career."
The center will also make an economic impact Moret said, noting that LSU's relationships with businesses and industries across Louisiana will improve by providing them with qualified students.
LSU Student Body President Taylor Cox said students will be able to be more, do more and accomplish more because of the Olinde Center's resources. He predicted the center will be "the living room for the student body."