Oliphant to speak about vocation

Grant Oliphant, current president of the Heinz Endowments, will be visiting Waynesburg University Thursday, March 14 at 11 a.m. in Alumni Hall. Oliphant will address students in a town hall-structured meeting where they will be able to ask questions about vocation, career paths and the role of college.

Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee said he is eager for Waynesburg students to get insight on what life may be like post-graduation.

“Mr. Oliphant has really done some amazing work throughout his life,” Lee said. “I would love for him to talk about how he got from point A to point B and the nuances that happened all along the way on that journey.”

Throughout his career, Oliphant has done a wide variety of work with organizations including the Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Pittsburgh Promise, which he helped launch. Lee said he is impressed by the work Oliphant has done and is excited to have a fresh perspective on campus.

“It would also be a wonderful opportunity to continue that objective to bring influential people to Waynesburg,” Lee said. “This is just one of those other opportunities—a learning experience for our students that sort of develop as a result of the work we’ve been doing to build relationships.”

During the event, after Oliphant speaks for about 15-20 minutes, Melinda Roeder-Skrbin, instructor of communication, will act as a moderator for the “town hall” portion and ask questions that have been submitted by students in advance.

Skrbin said having an event like this on campus will be a tremendous opportunity for students.

“To be able to benefit from his expertise is really important for students who are either deciding on a major or career path or getting ready to graduate,” Skrbin said.

Skrbin also reflected on the concept of students making connections with individuals in the Pittsburgh area, and how this might not have been an option for students in the past.

“A generation ago, a lot of college graduates had to leave the Pittsburgh area to be able to find jobs in their chosen fields,” Skrbin said. “The city has gone through several renaissances, so now there are more opportunities than ever before with such a diverse economy.”

While students who attend the event will hopefully walk away with new knowledge and insight, Lee said he is also hoping that Oliphant will gain a new respect for Waynesburg’s campus and mission during his visit.

“When folks have the opportunity to see who we are and to meet our students and staff, they are impressed,” Lee said. “We want to bring great people here and to get the message of Waynesburg University out there. I’m excited about the opportunity that [this event] provides.”

Additional information on the event will be released closer to the date.