Student Advising Finds its Center

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Thanks to a lead gift from Dathel and John Georges of New Orleans, the second floor of UVA’s Clemons Library will be transformed into a center with academic, professional, and personal advising resources available in one location.

The Dathel and John Georges Student Center will provide a single place for students to find everything they need related to academic and professional guidance. A steering committee consulted students throughout the center’s planning process, resulting in an open and versatile space. The private, semiprivate, and public areas will easily adapt to multiple uses, from one-on-one consultations to larger meeting spaces for workshops with partners such as the Center for Undergraduate Excellence.

The new advising center emerged as part of the Total Advising initiative outlined in UVA’s strategic plan, which calls for an integrated approach to student advising practices. The center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.

“By centralizing all of the resources at UVA that support students’ personal and professional goals in the heart of the Grounds, the Dathel and John Georges Student Center will serve as an innovative, flexible model for advising students according to their needs,” said Thomas C. Katsouleas, executive vice president and provost.

As the parents of one UVA graduate, Zana (Col ’15), and a rising second-year, Nike (Col ’19), the Georges believe that bringing resources together into a central location will enhance the student experience. UVA staff will hold office hours in the center, providing services such as career counseling and internship search assistance, consultation about study-abroad experiences, and suggestions for pursuing undergraduate research. The center will also expand tutoring currently provided by the Writing Center and the Math Center and add additional academic support services.

“It can be quite an experience for students to navigate a school as big as UVA,” said John Georges. “At this stage in their lives, these are some of the first—and most important—choices that students will make.” Dathel added, “It’s important to provide advising throughout a student’s college career, to provide a place where they can figure things out, ask questions, decide their major, or get a feel for their future.”

The new advising center emerged as part of the Total Advising initiative outlined in UVA’s strategic plan.

The Georges credit President Teresa Sullivan’s leadership as well as the appointment of Katsouleas, who brought with him a commitment to students and faculty. “We connected with Tom and with his emphasis on students,” said John. “We’d been considering a legacy gift, and his arrival helped with our decision when we found out that he shared our priorities.”

“We are thankful and appreciative that UVA is allowing us to help students in this way,” added John. “There are always good career choices to be made at the University, but this center will help students make the best decisions possible.”

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