Dear Friends: I joined Johnson & Wales University in 1974.
Among the many memories I cherish, I recall the time in 1976 when as a
culinary instructor I met with then vice president, Jack Yena, to
advocate for JWU students to gain relevant work experience and engage
with employers prior to graduation.While leaders agreed with the
concepts, there was some skepticism around whether I could bring 25
recruiters on campus. I am happy to say I won the friendly $10 wager
and brought 29 companies to Johnson & Wales that year. It was
another step in the evolution of JWU’s focus on providing students with
the knowledge, skills and work experience they need to build successful
Today, with formal Career Development Offices (CDO) at
every campus, more than 580 nationally and internationally recognized
companies participate in on-campus career fairs and hiring expos, and
close to 1,000 companies hire JWU graduates. These are strong
accomplishments. But doing what you did yesterday will not prepare you
for the inevitable changes that the present and future bring. In
2004, I accepted the challenge of leading JWU into the 21st century and
steering an almost 100-year-old organization through a process of
transformational change. Our strategic plan, FOCUS 2011, is about
pushing the envelope. It demands we move beyond measuring initial
employment, and instead measure career progression.
JWU launched a study of alumni from the graduating classes of 1997
through 2007 to understand more about their career paths and the role
their alma mater played in launching and advancing their professional
careers. Their feedback will strengthen JWU’s academic offerings,
opportunities and career services, ultimately helping us prepare the
next generation of JWU students. I look forward to updating you on the
research results in the new academic year.
As you read, you will
see we are re-engineering our experiential education efforts,
addressing affordability in this changing economy, and continually
striving to provide our students relevant and rewarding experiences.
What we do now builds the foundation for what will happen throughout
this century. There is much to be done and much success to be achieved,
and like our students, faculty and staff, our alumni and friends remain
at the heart of all we do.
University President John J. Bowen ’77