In all kinds of professions …
This issue’s cover story spotlights 13 College alums who work in the entertainment sector of communications – an area outside our primary educational mission.
Sometimes when I meet alumni who work in fields other than advertising, journalism, public relations or telecommunication, they, usually apologetically, say something like, “I don’t work in what I prepared for in the College.” I’ve been hearing some version of that for more than 10 years. You’d think I’d be used to it, but I’m not. In particular, I’ve never gotten used to the apologetic tone. Do these alums think I’ll disappear if I know they no longer work, or never worked, in our primary fields? Worse, do they think I’ll make them disappear – metaphorically speaking, of course, as in write them off my list of folks to connect with?
Just as frequently, I hear alums echo those interviewed for the cover story: “I use what I learned in the College almost every day in my work.” That’s one of our goals. Our franchise in the university is the preparation of future professionals and teacher-scholars in advertising, print and broadcast journalism, online media, public relations, and telecommunication production and management. But we know that as many as 40 percent of our undergraduate students may never work in these fields or make them their lifetime careers. For instance, the College has a decades-long history as a pre-law program. And some of our alums are or have been leaders in computer software development, insurance, and automobile sales, among other fields.
Another one of our goals is to provide students with a strong liberal arts and sciences education, combined with critical thinking and communication ability, especially writing and articulating ideas. Those skills come in handy no matter what one does. We hope that background improves the quality of life for every one of our students, whether or not they make a living in the fields for which we prepare them.
This issue’s cover story ultimately salutes all of our students. Yes, our main mission is to prepare the next generation of leaders in advertising, journalism, public relations, and telecommunication. And we’re doing that. If we can meet our primary mission and also prepare students for meaningful lives in a specialty that makes sense to them and contributes to the common good – that’s a bonus. Congratulations to our alums who’ve made good use of their degrees! Thank you for showing that what you learned in the College serves as a strong foundation for a broad range of endeavors within and beyond the boundaries of our primary mission.