News & Events

UI's Pomerantz Center Will House Admissions, Career Services Functions

By Tom Owen

One day during former University of Iowa president Mary Sue Coleman's administration, she asked UI Admissions Director Michael Barron a question: How would it work to build a facility with an admissions center and a career center?

"My response . . . was the same as it is today," Barron said. "I think it's brilliant. Having the front door and the back door in the same place sends all the right messages."

Namely, that the university is committed to helping students find jobs, in addition to learning.

Today, Barron's hope has become a reality, due in large part to the efforts of Gary Fethke, dean of the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business and Marvin Pomerantz, the Des Moines businessman and longtime UI benefactor.

In the fall, the UI will open the $17.6 million Pomerantz Center, a career services center directly south of the Blank Honors Center, between Market and Bloomington streets. Pomerantz donated $10 million of the $13.8 million in private funds UI has raised toward the facility, whose general contractor is Miron Construction, based in Neenah, Wis.

Fethke said the facility will provide better career services for undergraduates, an area in which UI might have fallen "a bit behind."

"Some of it has to do with the nature of our state," he said. "We have very few corporate headquarters, so we don't have people pounding at our doors. We have to be more aggressive."

Another plus: Fethke said the center will be one of just a few in the nation to offer career services for graduate and undergraduate students, and admissions, all in the same building.

UI officials hope potential students will come to the building for a tour of the campus and also go upstairs to learn what UI offers in career services, or academic advising.

They believe it will give UI an edge as it tries to attract students in a market that is far more competitive than it was 20 years ago.

And they think employers will find it more inviting and easier to find than the undergraduate career center in the basement of Phillips Hall.

The new building will offer an array of services to students.

The lower level will mainly feature instructional facilities, including a 400-seat auditorium and several classrooms the university will assign to courses each semester, as needed.

The first floor will feature the Admissions Visitors Center and classrooms. The second floor will house the Academic Advising Center. The third level will include the career center and 22 suites for job or internship placement interviews.

The fourth floor will be the home of the business school's MBA program for mid-career professionals, and its MBA career services program.

UI Career Services director David Baumgartner said the career center will be the best one in the Midwest.

As it does now, the career center will serve the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Business.

But unlike the current facility, the new center will have a career library with 12 computers and four conference rooms accommodating up to 40 people each.

In those rooms, company recruiters can meet with groups of students or talk to career center staff about the job skills the companies are seeking.

Another important feature of the new center is its increased capacity for job interviews. In Phillips, the career center has 11 interview rooms, which allows for 110 students to do placement interviews per day. The new center will have 22 rooms, and handle 300 placement interviews per day.

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