Pre-professional event for seniors brings distinguished alumni to campus

The Heimbold Visual Arts Center was filled to capacity on January 23 for "Your Liberal Arts Connections: A Pre-Professional Conference"—a day long informational and networking event for SLC graduating seniors. Featuring keynote remarks from Charlie Fink '81, former Senior Vice President of AOL, creative executive, and both new media and theatrical producer, the event also included an alumni panel discussion, a guest speaker on network building through social media and online profiles, small group informational sessions where students with specific career interests met with alumni in those fields, and a concluding networking reception.

The idea for the conference came from a group of alumni who had participated in earlier career panels—Jean Feiwel '76, Josh Selig '86, and Andrew Lawton MFA '03; it was chaired by Peter van Dijk '82, President of the SLC Alumni Association and a Rye, NY-based communications executive. According to Peter, “our goal was to help graduating seniors translate a Sarah Lawrence education into a clear career path and give them a chance to interact with some of the alumni who have done it successfully. We’re hoping this builds into an annual event that becomes a rite of passage for SLC seniors.”

"I loved everything about the day," said keynote speaker Charlie Fink '81. "I wish these resources were available to us when we were graduating 30 years ago, but we got to say what we wish was said to us. I actually learned a lot myself. 'From our pupils we are taught,' as Stephen Sondheim says."

Given student response to the opportunity, Peter’s hope—that this event will become a rite of passage for seniors—looks to be a certainty. SLC’s Offices of Career Services and Alumni Relations, and the SLC Alumni Board, sponsored the conference.