Dressed for Success

USD student Vicenta Martinez Govea ’21


A spacious meeting room on campus was transformed this spring into a well-organized clothing boutique, all due to the generosity of donors. Temporarily set up for students to visit by appointment in order to select appropriate attire for interviews and jobs, the Torero Closet “shop” was staffed by members of the Parent Advisory Board, who helped advise students on clothing selection for a professional look and arranged for complimentary alterations if needed.

“This effort truly speaks to the desire to lift up every student to set them up for success,” says Director of Parent and Family Relations Renda Quinn. “Our USD Parent Advisory Board recognizes the importance of first impressions and feeling confident in an interview.”

The shop was inviting and well-organized, with full-length mirrors, clothing racks, shelves and tables offering up an array of handbags, shoes, dresses, women and men’s suits and separates.   

The Torero Closet was originally the brainchild of Assistant Vice President for Student Life Cynthia Avery, EdD, who led the effort to build a USD Food Pantry for students in need. Over the past five years, the pantry morphed from a space tucked away in a hallway of the Student Life Pavilion to a large private office space that grants access to registered students with a key code.

“The passion and determination of current Parent Advisory Board President Marco Alessio ’84 (BBA), who is the parent of Alexandra ‘21 (BBA), helped us to secure this private space,” explains Quinn. “Within the pantry was a rack of clothing for students for job interviews, but it just wasn’t enough.”

USD Parent Corps Chair Stephanie Kourie — mother of Nathalie ‘19 (BBA) and Pascale ‘22 — took the lead for the next effort, which was to conduct a clothing drive to collect enough new and gently used clothing and accessories to create a complete “shop.”

“We did a clothing drive last year for these fabulous kids, so we’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get them kitted out,” Kourie explains. “I really enjoyed setting up the ‘boutique,’ it looked like somewhere I would enjoy shopping”

“It was great to have no restrictions and know I could walk out with something I liked that fit. My favorite outfit I selected was a red dress,”  says Vicenta Martinez Govea ’21 (pictured). “I also picked out a blazer, dress pants and a few blouses.”

“I loved how a couple of the girls were very concerned for the students who were coming after them and didn’t want to take as many outfits as we were giving them. They were so considerate,” says Kourie. “My favorite experience was helping a visually impaired student to choose several suits, shirts, ties, belts and shoes, as well as some business casual outfits for his new job after graduation. I only wish he could really see how handsome he looked.”

After helping 35 students at the event, the Parent Advisory Board has decided to continue this effort each semester in order to continue helping students in need to dress for success.Julene Snyder

Want to learn more and see how you can help? Email parents@sandiego.edu.

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