Columbia College Dean James Valentini would like to harness the power of the school’s alumni network more effectively by pairing upperclassmen with graduates in a mentorship program, he said this weekend.
In a speech at the Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend, Valentini said that he hopes to match each CC junior and senior with an alumni mentor to help them navigate their final two years at Columbia and transition to life after college.
“This is a long-term goal—an aspirational one—and will take time to achieve,” he said in a statement to Spectator. “But it is a goal nonetheless.”
Valentini said he was inspired by the success of the Columbia College Women Mentoring Program, which has over 175 student participants.
“I believe that our 46,000 alumni are one of the greatest resources that Columbia College has,” he said. “I want students to be able to learn from their extraordinary and diverse experiences.”
Valentini’s announcement this weekend represents one of several promises he made in a June interview with Spectator.
Addressing student concerns that the Center for Career Education focuses too heavily on jobs in finance and consulting, Valentini said he wanted to do a better job of connecting students and alumni.
“If you look at the trajectories of former students, you see that they have lots of twists and turns in their lives, in their careers. They wind up doing things they never would have anticipated doing when they were students,” he said at the time. “Their life stories are so interesting. I think you’d find it reassuring.”