Two dozen alumni will return to Wabash this weekend for a symposium on career opportunities available at Wabash as a result of a Lilly Endowment grant.
Wabash is in the second year of the five-year grant that provides funds for students to participate in internships and the Summer Business Immersion program.
"We've already launched several successful programs and have more ready to go," says Lu Hamilton, who directs the grant's programs. "We've invited alumni to come back to raise awareness of the opportunities the grant provides and to share their ideas of what we might also do with
the funds we have available. The question I want to ask them is, 'What opportunities should our students have that you did not have available to you when you were in school?'"
The grant already provides funds for more than 20 students to participate in Indiana-based internships during the summer, as well as six research-focused internships in Indiana firms. Additionally, there are funds available for 10 students to participate in the College's
Summer Business Immersion program.
"We received about 40 applications for the internships and 20 applications for the Immersion program," says Hamilton. He also points out that alumni have funded another five summer small business internships for students who want that kind of experience.
The alumni returning for the weekend symposium range from John Pantzer ’54 to much younger alums like Nick Nussbaum ’01.
"What we really want to get out of the weekend is a better understanding from alumni of what we're trying to do in terms of providing opportunities for students to better prepare themselves for life after Wabash. Which of our programs make sense? How do we roll out other programs? How can alumni get involved? Those are the questions we'll be dealing with over the course of our time together," says Hamilton.
Wabash received the grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of the Initiative to Promote Opportunity through Educational Collaborations.
Wabash hopes to put as many as 50 students through the Summer Business Immersion Program, while another 100 students could receive paid summer internships from the grant's funds. Additionally, Hamilton says one of the most successful aspects of the grant thus far has been the Alumni Career Speaker's Series, which brings four alumni to campus each semester for talks about how they turned their liberal arts education into positions they now hold.
Future aspects of the grant's programs include a summer marketing program and a collaboration with Ball State University's Midwest Entrepreneurial Education Center to conduct feasibility studies for up to 20 new Indiana businesses.
"There's just so much in this grant in terms of the opportunities available to our students. We hope by bringing alumni into the mix as often as possible that our students will gain a better understanding of what's available to them, as well as how the alumni got where they are in their careers," adds Hamilton.
Alumni scheduled to participate in the symposium are: Pete Allen ’73; George Brattain ’55; Eric Dawes ’99; Steve Golliher ’67; Ramon Gonzalez ’00; Herm Haffner ’77; Terry Hamilton ’89; Charles Hutchins ’77; Daryl Johnson ’82; Bill Kennedy ’83; Mac McLaughlin ’83; Jim Miller ’80; Fred Miller ’76; Tom Milligan ’63; Nick Nussbaum ’01; Dave Olsen ’80; John Pantzer ’54; Mark Rutherford ’82; Mike Shaver ’73; Bob Snodgrass ’77; Mike Swift ’77; and Steve Woods ’93.