UNC Charlotte relaunched the academic, career and professional development hub, renaming it the Niblock Student Center in the Belk College of Business building on Jan. 9.
The center was reinitiated by a $2.5 million donation from Robert A. Niblock, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lowe’s Companies Inc., to help undergraduate business students throughout all stages of discovering, planning and achieving their academic and career goals.
“In today’s business world, you need more than technical skills to land a job,” said Dean of the Belk College Business Steven Ott. “Employers and recruiters alike are looking for the complete package when hiring. How you present yourself, express enthusiasm for the work you’re doing and interact with others are some of the soft skills employers are seeking in new graduates. These are the skills that the Niblock Student Center builds.”
The donation and naming of the center was first announced by Ott and Chancellor Philip L. Dubois in fall 2015. Niblock recieved a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UNC Charlotte in 1984 and was the school’s first recipient of the Belk College of Business Distinguished Alumni award in fall 2016.
“Robert Niblock’s support is making a tremendous difference for our students,” said Dubois. “Many are first-generation college students, and many are working while studying in order to afford their education. The Niblock Student Center provides personal and career guidance to prepare students for lifelong success.”
It prepares students with one-on-one academic advising and career coaching where students can gain insight in more options, degree requirements and potential careers and opportunities. In addition, it offers career and professional development workshops, such as the Lunch and Learn workshop series, where lunch is provided meanwhile a presenter covers various in-depth real-world topics such as negotiation skills, mentoring, networking, etc. The Women in Business coffee hours is another networking and professional development opportunity. More information and additional events can be found in the center’s office, room 305 of Belk College of Business.
“The center helps students put everything into perspective, not just for curriculum and course track guidance but to see more of the value of the Belk College of Business,” said Mackenzie Mastrangelo, junior accounting major and peer adviser of the Niblock Student Center. “Friday isn’t just a building to walk in, go to class and leave. It’s a place to get involved in and the advising center is here to help you get connected with resources and make the most of it.”
The center was first established in 2012 with financial contributions from seed money of the Belk Foundation and the MetLife Foundation, along with donations from alumni and friends. Niblock’s donation has helped grow the center significantly.
“I am proud to call myself a UNC Charlotte alumnus, and I’m proud of my accounting degree from the Belk College of Business,” said Niblock. “I know that UNC Charlotte provides a quality education for students, and I believe the Student Center provides the opportunity to enhance that education with coaching and personal skills that can help ensure success. The center provides UNC Charlotte graduates with the opportunity to develop career competencies as they enter the workforce while helping them stand out and reveal themselves as well-rounded, capable and creative leaders before leaving school and looking for that first job. The center sets our next generation of leaders on a path to do something of significance and meaning with their degree and to excel professionally, leaving a lasting contribution to our community and world around us.”
Mastrangelo called Niblock an inspiration because of what he has accomplished with his accounting degree.
“He didn’t have nearly as many resources as we do now and what he did with what he had is truly inspiring. Now at UNC Charlotte, we have an abundant amount of great resources and support to help us succeed and network. So, use them. Come see us at the Niblock Student Center,” she said.
For more information, visit belkcollege.uncc.edu/programs/undergraduate-programs/niblock-student-center.