Built to help students in the College of Business Administration develop their skills through a one-stop training spot, The University of Akron opened the new Anthony J. Alexander Professional Development Center on Sept. 9 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Named after Anthony J. Alexander, a UA graduate and former executive at First Energy Corp, the Professional Development Center will give students the opportunity to interact with local professionals in a setting typically found in business environments.
Students will also have access to a business analytics lab and a room dedicated to practicing presentations. Here, students can not only record themselves for self-review, but also will be able to receive presentation skills coaching.
According to a UA press release, the new building and its initiatives were the University’s response to advice from departmental advisory boards and the College of Business Advancement Council.
Joseph Gingo, Chair of the UA Board of Trustees, said 280 donors contributed toward the funding of the new $5.45 million building located on the corner of University Avenue, and S. Broadway Street.
“That’s 280 votes of confidence in the University, the College of Business Administration and most importantly, the students,” Gingo said during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Susan Hanlon, Ph.D., interim dean of the CBA, believes the success of UA’s business programs is directly related to the University’s relationships with the business community and support they give.
This success is shown through the approximate 80 percent of CBA students participating in internships and the 96 percent finding a source of employment within six months of graduation, the press release said.
Alexander, now an advisory trustee on the UA BOT, wants students to use the new resources available to them as the new center is dedicated to student success.
“Students, those of you who are here today, this is your resource to use, take advantage of the faculty and staff dedicated to this development center and your success,” Alexander said.
Offices for professional development staff, student learning and technology commons and even offices for the Institute of Leadership Advancement are now housed in the new building, giving students greater access to advice and learning opportunities.
Many of the students in attendance of the opening ceremony were excited to witness the ribbon cutting and enjoyed exploring the new building.
Sophomore Bryce Hasman, an accounting major, believes the new building will be a great addition to CBA and the students, as it is “great to help further ourselves.”
Kim Cole, vice president of advancement and executive director of the UA Foundation, said the University is thankful for the donors making the new building and its initiatives a possibility.
“Akron is a wonderfully supportive community and we value the relationships we have with the businesses and the professionals who call it home,” Cole said.