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University of Miami Officially Dedicates Its New State-of-the-Art Patricia and Harold Toppel Career Center

University of Miami senior Jasmine Holmes likes to call it the Genius Bar — a reference to the tech support station located inside Apple retail stores. “It makes me want to come back,” said Holmes.

The 21-year-old accounting major was talking about a career technology lab on the UM campus. The lab includes a row of computer workstations, attracting students who like to use its PCs and Macs to create job-winning resumes and cover letters.

The lab is just one of the many high-tech features located inside UM’s new Patricia and Harold Toppel Career Center, which the University officially dedicated recently by heralding the building’s amenities and honoring the donor and trustee who made it possible.

“It’s our new public face on the most visible side of campus,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala, referring to the center’s unobstructed location on Ponce de Leon Boulevard.

With the center’s January opening, UM has completed a “journey of designing a unique and dynamic building that would set the bar high for career centers across the country,” said the facility’s executive director, Christian Garcia. “I believe we’ve [surpassed] that bar. We’ve incorporated technology into every inch of this building, allowing us to reach students and alumni here and anywhere else in the world.”

Indeed, the Toppel Center’s spacious, conference-style Career Loft is ready to host a Peace Corps outreach event on February 25, bridging the distance between volunteers stationed in far-flung countries and bringing them together for a videoconference attended by students. Only a year ago, the Toppel Center, which since 1995 had been housed at the site of a former bowling alley on the UM campus, lacked such technology, using the videoconferencing capabilities of other entities such as the School of Communication.

But now, said Garcia, the center boasts “flexible spaces that accommodate the needs of all of our audiences.” Among those flexible spaces: interview suites with ceiling-mounted miniature cameras that record job interviews.

The center and its technologically advanced touches are “a means, not an end” for students, said William Scott Green, UM’s senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, who founded an entrepreneurial initiative, the Launch Pad, for students. The Toppel Center, he said “is a place for reflection, it’s a place for inspiration, it’s a place for planning, it’s a place in which our students can envision the multiple possible trajectories for their lives after college.”

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About Momentum2

Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami seeks to advance learning, elevate scholarship, and make bold strides in health care in the community, across the country, and around the world. Momentum2 comes on the heels of the institution’s record-breaking Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, which concluded at the end of 2007 and raised more than $1.4 billion for endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships, facilities, academic and medical programs, and other initiatives.

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