E&H Hires New Director of Career Services

Alexa Shockley, Editor-in-Chief

Emory & Henry College hired a new director of career services after receiving a $5 million grant from the van Vlissingen Foundation. Director Lee Svete is coming into the role with over 30 years of experience.

Svete will be working out of the new van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development. 

“The [location] of the van Vlissingen Center was formerly … the Ampersand Center,” Svete said. “I think it’s important because the college was making that transition to life after Emory & Henry. Now the center is going to be so much more.”  

E&H has been working with the van Vlissingen Foundation for over a year to create the career center. The money donated to E&H is going to be spread out over 20 years with a primary focus on preparing students for the world of work, and most of the money will go toward hiring new personnel for the career center. 

“We’re going to teach students how to market themselves and have competitive resumes. We’re going to make alumni connections and reach out to employers for students. We think we engage about 20% of the student population. I want that number, by the end of the year, to be 80% or higher. I think we did 240 meetings with students last year. I want to do 1,000 this year,” Svete explained his goals with excitement.

Director Lee Svete stands in front of the new van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development.

Amanda Gardner, who served as director of career services at E&H for 16 years and is now assistant director for internship programs, says these changes are possible because of the expanded staff. 

“The new center has extra energy that a one-person shop just can’t have,” Gardner said. “We’re excited to put that energy into our students and help them prepare for the world of work.” 

“I’ve actually gone to talk to Amanda a lot of times, but scheduling was sometimes an issue,” E&H student Peyton Burke said. “She’s come to talk in so many of my classes, and she’s always good at responding to emails, but having more people in the center will definitely help with the accessibility that it provides to students.” 

Svete was the first person hired for the center’s new staff. “When I saw the strategic plan,” Svete said, referencing the center’s football-themed development campaign, “I said ‘this is where I want to be’ because it addressed experiential learning in a way that was so creative. … I knew that I could make a difference here and impact students’ transitions from college to career.”

As his staff profile on the E&H website explains in detail, Svete has a wealth of experience in career education. Most recently, Svete served as associate vice president for professional career development at Wake Forest University where he helped raise more than $4 million in support of career services. 

With the help of the John and Marine van Vlissingen Foundation, which was established in 1985 and focuses on supporting institutions with social causes, Svete plans to continue his successful career at E&H. 

“I believe that what we are doing is so progressive it hasn’t been done by other liberal arts schools yet,” Svete said.

The career center and its new staff are now virtually hosting a series of Tuesday night events to inform E&H students about available programs. For more information about Svete and career education at E&H, visit the career center page on the E&H website.