Loeb ’77 Gives Career Center Seven-Figure Gift
Issue   |   Wed, 09/28/2016 - 00:42
Takudzwa Tapfuma '17
With a gift from Michael Loeb ’77, the career center was renamed the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning, the college announced on Sept. 14.

The career center was renamed the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning on Sept. 14 after receiving a seven-figure gift from Michael Loeb ’77, the founder and CEO of the investment firm Loeb Enterprises.

Emily Griffen, the director of the center, said that the exact amount of the gift could not be disclosed, but the center may allocate the funds however it chooses.

According to Griffen, the donation will allow the center to increase opportunities for students to gain career experience and foster connections with alumni, as well as “fill equity gaps and level the playing field.” It will also be used to improve career-related programs and initiatives that are already in place, such as the Pathways Mentoring Program and Career Trek Program. New initiatives, such as the Amherst Professional Accelerator (APEX) program for sophomores, will also benefit from the funding.

The gift provides significant support to the career center, which is heavily reliant on donations and relationships between the college and its alumni. Alumni donations have waned slightly in the past year, which is unusual for the college.

Griffen said that renaming the career center may lead students to think of the Loeb Center not only as a place for career planning, but also as a place for exploring other career options. “It’s important for us to exercise a balance between exploration and planning,” she said.

Manny Osunlana ’18, a peer career advisor for the Loeb Center, said that the renaming could also encourage more students to reach out to the center.

“The name change from Career Center to the Loeb Center might distance students from thinking, ‘All right, that’s the place I go senior year when I want to figure out what I’m doing after I graduate,’” Osunlana said. “It might incentivize people to go, ‘That’s the place I go when I want to figure out what I want to do with my life.’”

According to Osunlana, the Loeb Center will also use some of the money to invest more heavily in connecting students to internship opportunities.

Loeb has previously worked with the career center by offering internships to graduates through the Amherst Select program.

According to Griffen, the donation will allow students to explore a greater range of career options and give the Loeb Center the flexibility to implement new ideas quickly rather than having to wait for additional funding for new projects or initiatives.

“I want to provide students with experiences to really let them test out their assumptions,” Griffen said. “I want these experiences to be more meaningful, to be about self-exploration and self-discovery. No doubt it’s an expensive model, but it’s one that’s in sync with our mission.”