PROVIDENCE — Providence College announced on Monday, April 29, that it has received a $2 million gift from Jim Chirico ’80 and his wife, Bridget. The gift is earmarked for the college’s construction of a new Center for Career Education and Professional Development with expanded facilities, technology and career coaching to prepare students for life after graduation.
“We are most grateful to Jim and Bridget for this generous gift,” said Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. “The new and enhanced Center for Career Education and Professional Development will be an important campus resource, and a fitting complement to the work our Student Affairs Division does in supporting the overall development of our students.”
“The Center for Career Education and Professional Development will provide a space for students to make important connections with recruiters, organizations, alumni networks, and others, bringing them closer to their first destination after college, whether that be employment, education, service or ministry,” said Kristine C. Goodwin, vice president for student affairs.
The new center will have a résumé bar where students can work with career coaches to review and refine their résumés, and an interview suite featuring six rooms equipped for telephone and video interviews. Staff and administrative offices will be located nearby so that students can have easy access to assistance.
The center will be the cornerstone of the second phase of the Ruane Friar Development Center (RFDC) project, which was made possible by a lead gift from Michael A. Ruane ’71 & ’13 (Hon.), and his wife, Elizabeth. The first phase, dedicated in September 2018, features a two-court practice facility for the men’s basketball team, enhancements to the Canavan Sports Medicine Center and a student-athlete café.
In addition to the Center for Career Education, the second RFDC phase will include an expanded ’64 Hall and an enclosed concourse linking Alumni Hall, Slavin Center, and the Concannon Fitness Center. A second $2 million gift, this one from an anonymous donor, also has been received for the project. Preparation work will begin this summer.
Chirico is president and CEO of Avaya, a global telecommunications and collaborative technology company with 8,000 employees in 183 countries. When he became president and CEO in October 2017, the company was just exiting from Chapter 11 restructuring. Under Chirico’s leadership, Avaya was able to successfully complete the process and go public on the New York Stock Exchange in January 2018.
When he graduated from PC, there were few career services available to students, Chirico noted.
“There’s an incredible amount of talent entering the workforce today, and the competition for the first job out of school is fierce,” Chirico said. “It’s important for students to have the best preparation to understand what makes them attractive to an employer, how they can be successful in their search, and the criteria to look for in their first job. Bridget and I are investing in the Center for Career Education and Professional Development to prepare students to launch their careers, and to help them find careers in which they can succeed.”
A liberal arts education is an advantage, he added.
“The best part of a liberal arts education is that you have the opportunity to learn in multiple disciplines. You are not just an expert in one field,” Chirico said. “Yes, you can be an English major and work for Avaya.”