A former College of William and Mary student has donated $6 million toward the construction of a new Career Center for the school.
The College held a ceremonial groundbreaking at 11:30 a.m. today after Sherman Cohen, a real estate developer from Manhattan, and his wife Gloria committed the funds.
The new office, to be named the Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center, will replace the current facility housed in the basement of Blow Hall and will more than double its size.
The gift puts the fund for the building’s construction within $1 million of the $7.9 million needed. Career Center Director Mary Schilling said the department has been reaching out to major College benefactors to fill the gap.
“We’re hoping the energy of this major gift will really get the ball rolling,” Schilling said. “Especially once they see what can be done with such a facility.”
The 11,000-square-foot office will be located near the Sadler Center, and will house offices, reception and presentation areas as well as a second floor devoted entirely to interview space. The rooftop will feature an accessible terrace overlooking Cary Field at Zable Stadium.
“Career counseling and help in finding jobs has become increasingly important to students and their parents,” College President Taylor Reveley said in a press release. “Excellent physical facilities are crucial to success on these fronts. Because of the Cohens’ great generosity, William and Mary will finally have such facilities. They will help tremendously.”
Construction on the Center is scheduled for the fall of 2009 and should be completed the following year. The construction firm has yet to be selected, though invitations for bids have been extended by the College.
Cohen attended the College in 1938 but withdrew after a semester to open a chain of men’s retail outlets with his brothers. He kept close ties to the College, however, through former College President Paul Verkuil.
“The College has long been in my thoughts,” Cohen said in the release. “Although I left to pursue business opportunities, I have been continually impressed with the College’s fine reputation.”
The Career Center reported working with more than 2,500 students during the 2007-2008 academic year and, including major functions and return visits, held more than 6,800 points of student contact. Schilling said new career center openings at other institutions have shown the potential to double student interest.