Renovated Porter Family Professional Development Center continues to connect students with real-world experiences

Elon Trustee Dave Porter P’11 P’19 recently visited the renovated space while on campus and discussed its impact with several Elon students.

For the past decade, the Porter Family Professional Development Center has been connecting Elon students with professional opportunities while helping them hone their skills as they enter a competitive job market.

Now the newly renovated space in the Koury Business Center is even more inviting to students seeking help with resumes and interview skills or seeking connections with internships or alumni networks.

Trustee Dave Porter visits the recently renovated Porter Family Professional Development Center on Friday, April 8, 2022.

New graphics along a brighter hallway make the center easier to find and reflect its role in professional development. The center’s new glass-fronted entryway welcomes students as they come to connect with the center’s staff, with the front desk now wrapped in Elon oak. An updated interior includes a photo wall highlighting a wide range of Elon students embedded in companies and organizations through internships or job placements.

“The renovations not only allow students to see the Porter Family Professional Development Center when they walk into Koury Business Center, but the updated lobby provides an inviting space for them to sit, stay and have a conversation about their professional path,” said Brooke Buffington, director of the Student Professional Development Center.

Among the recent visitors to the center was its namesake, Elon Trustee Dave Porter P’11 P’19, whose major gift in 2011 funded the creation of the center. Owner and managing partner of Baystate Financial Services in Boston, Porter made the gift after being impressed with the experience his son, Tim Porter ’11, had at Elon and by the caliber of Elon students who have worked as interns at his company.

“The best universities in the world are dedicated to experiential learning, and that’s what this center is all about,” Porter said following his visit to the center on Friday, April 8. “It speaks to the truth that experiential learning is at the heart of what we do here at Elon.”

Porter was joined on his visit by Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, as well as Vice President for University Advancement Jim Piatt and Associate Vice President for University Advancement John Barnhill, but the focus was on talking with students about the impact the center has had on their time at Elon.

From left to right, Meredith Mackenzie ’22, Lilly Rothschild ’22, Vice President for University Advancement Jim Piatt, Associate Vice President for University Advancement John Barnhill, Dean of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Raghu Tadepalli, and Trustee Dave Porter gather in the recently renovated Porter Family Professional Development Center.

Talking with Porter during his visit were Meredith Mackenzie and Lilly Rothschild, both senior finance majors who have already secured positions in the financial services sector following graduation in May. Mackenzie will move into an investment banking role with Wells Fargo in Charlotte and Rothschild will take on a role with Ernst & Young in New York City.

Mackenzie shared with Porter the role the center has played in connecting her with Elon’s growing network of alumni, particularly those in the business sector. Mackenzie recently “paid it forward” by participating in internship panels organized by the center that allowed her to share about her experience and connect with peers.

“Through meet-and-greet events and personal email introductions, I have been able to interact with parents and alumni who have given me valuable advice, feedback and connections,” Mackenzie said. “The Elon Job Network helped me find more opportunities with private firms in addition to the traditional public companies, and the advisers at the Porter Center guided me on how to prepare for each type of interview.”

Porter said that the Center is meeting the expanding desire by students to build a foundation of experiences earlier in their careers at Elon. “Now students are exploring and seeking out internships during their first year at Elon rather than as juniors, and that paves the way for multiple meaningful experiences,” Porter said.

Rothschild has been involved with the Porter Center since her first year at Elon and has built relationships with multiple staff members there. “When I sit with any of the Porter Center staff, I feel welcome to imagine my greater professional potential,” she said.

Last fall, she leaned on the staff as she looked to pivot and find the right opportunity following her experiences in the summer working in risk for large banking institutions. “The Porter Center helped me refine my personal brand to reflect the skills that I can offer in a new capacity, such as financial consulting, an area I’ll be moving into after graduation,” Rothschild said. “The Porter Center recognized that exploration through conversations was the best way to gain clarity about my professional path. They quickly put me in touch with senior and junior Elon alumni whose advice has helped pave the way toward a successful career in finance.”

The refresh and renovation of the Porter Center assist the center’s staff as they are expanding the ways they connect with students and help them meet their professional goals, Buffington said.

“Love School of Business student outcomes have continued to rise, and the Porter Center works hard to meet the needs of all students who want to pursue business opportunities,” Buffington said. “It’s imperative that the center’s physical space reflect the exceptional level of work that’s being done in the office each day.”

Learn more about the Porter Family Professional Development Center here or by stopping by the center at Koury Business Center 106.