$1 million pledge jump-starts Wilkes-Barre Career Services Center

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Plans are under way for a new Career Services Center at Penn State Wilkes-Barre that will provide students with comprehensive career planning and job seeking services. A major matching gift from Wilkes-Barre alumnus Richard K. “Ric” Struthers and his wife, Sharon, has jump-started the campus’ fundraising effort to support the project.

The Struthers have pledged $1 million to Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Their gift will match 50 percent of the cost to build and furnish the new Career Services Center, up to a total commitment of $500,000. The remainder of their commitment will be split with $250,000 going to create the Struthers Family Trustee Scholarship supporting students at Penn State Wilkes-Barre with financial need. The additional $250,000 will go into an endowment by the Struthers Family, annually supporting the operational expenses of the new Career Services Center.

The facility will be named the Struthers Family Career Services Center in recognition of their commitment. Though located at the Wilkes-Barre campus, the center will also benefit students at several other Penn State campuses in eastern Pennsylvania through the creation of a new regional job and internship development position.

“A superior career services program is a key ingredient for our students and young alumni to fulfill their career aspirations,” said Ric Struthers, a native of Dallas, Pa., who also was instrumental in securing funding for the Bank of America Career Services Center at University Park. “There are many components to a successful career development office beyond résumé preparing; it includes internships, employer development, career fairs, and a variety of career planning workshops. Sharon and I are dedicated to seeing a comprehensive Career Services Center on campus this year.”

“We’re very grateful to Ric and Sharon Struthers for their remarkable generosity in providing the lead gift for this project,” said Charles Davis, Chancellor of Penn State Wilkes-Barre. "They’ve shown they understand how important these services are for our students, especially now, as our graduates are facing such a challenging job market.”

The center’s physical facilities will be located in a renovated and expanded section of the Athletics and Recreation Building. Among its features will be a state-of-the-art Career Information Center, three interview rooms, a video interview room, and a conference room. A full-time career services coordinator will serve the immediate career-related needs of students and alumni, including career counseling, résumé writing assistance, and interview preparation. A full-time administrative assistant will also staff the center.

A third new full-time position, regional job and internship development specialist, will be created to serve not just Penn State Wilkes-Barre, but also the campuses of Hazleton, Worthington Scranton, Schuylkill, and Lehigh Valley. Based at the Wilkes-Barre campus, the regional specialist will network with employers throughout the region, developing job and internship opportunities, planning employer career days, coordinating regional meetings with career services staff, and generally raising the profile of these Penn State campuses among area employers.

Anthony J. Shipula II, Director of Development for Penn State Wilkes-Barre, said that today’s competitive employment environment requires that students have access to a full suite of employment services such as these. The existing career services operation at Penn State Wilkes-Barre strives to provide the best guidance and support to students that it can with the resources available. Not only has the Wilkes-Barre campus been growing, it also has been adding to the number of associate and bachelor’s degrees it offers. “As more students at Penn State Wilkes-Barre complete their degrees on our campus,” Shipula said, “it is important that we provide them with the support services that a Penn State experience demands.”

“We’re excited that our career services operation is growing to meet the increased demand,” Davis added. “The Struthers Family Career Services Center at Penn State Wilkes-Barre will have a real, lasting impact on our students because it will better help them define and achieve their career goals.”

A variety of naming opportunities within the facility will be available to donors who wish to establish a visible and long-lasting philanthropic legacy at the Wilkes-Barre campus. Individuals or organizations interested in making a gift to the Struthers Family Career Services Center should contact Anthony Shipula at 570-675-9107 or ashipula@psu.edu.

These gifts will help Penn State Wilkes-Barre and the University to reach the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The campaign is engaging alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. For the Future is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

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Last Updated March 08, 2012