Michael ’78 and Julie Milone have committed $1.5 million to permanently endow the directorship of Colgate Career Services, supporting efforts to help students explore their passions and pursue post-graduation success.
“We feel strongly that career services is a very important part to the successful college experience,” says Milone, who earned his degree in the natural sciences before pursuing a 32-year career with H.J. Heinz, retiring as executive vice president of emerging markets and head of global enterprise risk management. “Career services should start early to help students experience as many things as they can to figure out their interests and passions.”
The creation of endowed directorships will assist the University in attracting and retaining transformational leaders as Colgate pursues its Third-Century Plan. A 15-year veteran of the department, Teresa Olsen will be the first beneficiary to take the title of the Milone Family Assistant Vice President for Career Initiatives.
Under Olsen’s leadership, Career Services recently adopted a new, intentional framework to empower undergraduates’ strategic career exploration. Engagement with this model throughout their four years will help students translate a liberal arts education into a lifetime of meaningful work.
“We don’t expect students to have all the answers,” says Olsen. “We are focused on helping them build the foundation that lets them explore who they are while connecting the dots between their academic and co-curricular interests.”
To that end, the department coordinates career exploration programs like the nationally recognized SophoMORE Connections and Career Exploration Week, both of which give undergraduates up-close industry insight and foster connections with Colgate’s robust alumni network. Since 2013, the department has also offered more than $4.2 million in donor-funded grants for students to pursue unpaid or underpaid summer internship, research, or service experiences.
Taking advantage of career coaching, programming, and networking opportunities, 98% of the Class of 2021 engaged with Career Services during their Colgate career. Even amidst a global pandemic, 94% of respondents in the Class of 2020 had secured employment, graduate or professional school admission, a competitive fellowship or scholarship, volunteer service, or military service within six to nine months after graduation.
Though student-focused programs represent part of the equation, Career Services’ employer relations also proactively secures internship and entry-level opportunities from 200 formal recruiting partners annually. The department also engages more than 1,300 alumni and parent volunteers annually to support the office’s career development programs and events.
A longtime advocate for Colgate Career Services, Milone previously invested in the construction of its home in Benton Hall.
“I was a biochemist who went into consumer products marketing, so you never can tell,” says Milone. “What’s indispensable about a liberal arts degree is that it helps you develop thinking skills that are an important part of success, regardless of what a student chooses to do in the future.”