This issue of Denison Magazine celebrates the ways Denison unlocks the potential of our students to be the architects of their lives. When we welcome students to Denison, we want them to have a life-shaping experience filled with amazing relationships and experiences that lead to tremendous personal growth. And we want Denison to launch our students into lives and careers they never could have imagined as high school seniors.
We have purposefully profiled alums who are working in expected and unexpected ways, from alums working in business to comedy to those working in politics, health care, sports, and the arts. We even profile alums who are using retirement to explore new careers and forms of work.
Career exploration, preparation, and launch have been priorities for the college over the last few years. We want students to explore different ways people choose to live and work. We want to prepare them so they can compete for any internship, job, or graduate or professional program. And we want to launch our students quickly and successfully and help them make their initial career pivots.
This work happens everywhere on campus. It starts in the classroom and through the mentorship students receive from faculty and staff that allows them to ask big questions about themselves, the world around them, and their place within it. It extends to athletics and a range of other campus activities that help students develop important skills, values, and habits. And life-changing experiences, such as study abroad, add tremendously to the process.
Over the last few years, we’ve added support through these campus efforts:
- The Knowlton Center for Career Exploration is leading-edge. Students begin with our signature Journey Program, which is designed to get students started on the career exploration process, then have access to career coaches, career communities, and an incredibly robust program to help them find summer internships. As they get closer to graduation, they can use the programs at Denison Edge to close skills gaps. The Knowlton Center also supports alums as they launch and make initial career pivots.
- The Red Frame Lab for Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking supports students interested in enhancing the campus for their fellow students, starting their own business, or learning to be a consultant. Programs such as Red Frame Lab Consulting, Red Corps, Red Startup, and UX Design Workshop give students real-world experiences. This year many of us are benefiting from TruCha boba tea, opened by two students in Slayter!
- The Lisska Center for Intellectual Engagement is our home to help students compete for top fellowship programs. New scholar-leader programs like Exordium and Studium support students early so they can compete for prestigious fellowship programs. Denison has emerged as a top producer of Fulbright awardees, and last year had a student win a very prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.
- Our expanding Alumni & Family Engagement office is focused on bringing affinity groups back to campus in ways that are fun and meaningful for alums and helpful for students. Over the last few years, we have been piloting ReMix, which connects alumni entrepreneurs to students to learn and network — we’ve seen all kinds of wonderful career-related connections emerging. Additionally, we host a range of affinity groups back on campus, from the Black Alumni Association to hockey to Hilltoppers.
- I also want to mention a new effort underway called Ask a Denisonian, an AI software program that connects students to alums and alums to each other. Students or alums can ask a question using Ask A Denisonian, which will connect you with alums who can help. The intent is to make it easy for alums to answer questions, offer professional advice, and exchange valuable wisdom and connections. It is easy to use and can be found on the Denison Alumni page.
I am deeply proud to be a Denisonian. I am proud of the way our faculty and staff work to give our students a life-shaping liberal arts education that launches them into fulfilling lives and careers. A liberal arts education should open students’ minds and imaginations, and challenge and inspire them to think in creative and exciting ways about how they want to live and work.
Putting together this issue of the Denison Magazine was fun. We were inspired by all of the ways alums are working and building lives. And we were heartened by the gratitude alums expressed for a Denison education. I hope you enjoy it!