From Start to Finish


While every journey is different, one common element is universal: a start and a finish. Given that reverberations from major decisions such as choosing a college can ripple for years, USD is making a concerted effort to revamp the way that it delivers its own start-to-finish experience.

This spring, the Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions officesand the Career Development Center have been relocated to one shared building on campus. The newly renovated Manchester Hall serves as a resource-filled home base for prospective students and parents to begin their quest to learn about all USD has to offer. And it’s by design that career development services are close at hand.

“This shows the public, especially our prospective students, that we’re collaborating. They can visibly see, ‘Here’s the beginning, and here’s the end,’” explains Undergraduate Admissions Director Minh-Ha Hoang ‘96 (BBA).

“We’re like bookends,” adds Robin Darmon, director for the Career Development Center, who is rightfully enthusiastic about the partnership.

“The importance of the career and professional development experience is threaded throughout the years of each student’s experience on campus,” Darmon says. “Even before they’ve committed to USD, students and parents realize this is a priority. Us being together is a natural fit. It just makes sense.”

Bringing the two offices together solved a number of issues. Hoang felt that the admissions office had outgrown its former space in Serra Hall. And previously, Darmon and her staff were located on the ground floor of the Hughes Administration Building, tucked away and not easily located by those who didn’t already know where to find them.

The freshly renovated building and the ensuing partnership enhanced both offices. Inside, visitors will find a mix of tradition and modernity. The space sends a unified message to prospective, current and past students to visit and linger. Alumni are encouraged to explore the services offered, whether looking for career opportunities or, as employers, seeking to potentially hire USD students.

“Naturally, a lot of people don’t think about a career until their junior or senior year, but that’s not how it should be,” Hoang says. “We want to reach them as early as possible. When I counsel families about their college decision, I’m very proud to show them our career outcomes. And I’m proud to showcase career development and our lifelong commitment to our alumni.”

The new space is welcoming and comfortable, technologically up-to-date and replete with useful resources.

“I’m excited for the future, for parents and prospective students to see the vibrancy of the space, to see recruiters coming in and out of the building, to watch our students hone their self-assess-ment skills,” Darmon says. “Our goal is to make this a student-friendly hub where students can hang out and do research, interact with recruiters, meet with a Peace Corps representative or hear a graduate school presentation.” — Ryan T. Blystone

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