Emory & Henry Dedicates The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development

Posted by Tyler Segraves
On November 2, a dedication ceremony took place at The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development to honor John & Marine van Vlissingen, followed by a student panel discussion in the Van Dyke Center.

Ceremony remarks were made by President John W. Wells, Provost Michael Puglisi, 2021 Graduate David Cahill and Director of the Center, Lee Svete. The Center’s purpose is to support students and alumni toward their professional path and transform their college experience so they are “Career & Life Ready.”

In 2019, Emory & Henry College announced at its fall Board of Trustees meeting that it received a gracious gift pledge of $5 million from The van Vlissingen Student Foundation to create the Center and support the strategic initiatives of the College.

“We are fortunate for the van Vlissingen family’s interest in Emory & Henry students,” said President John W. Wells. “Mr. van Vlissingen, a renowned businessman and entrepreneur, has great empathy for students who thirst for the guidance and skills that will lead them to the working world.”

Van Vlissingen is the founder and chairman of the board of BCD Group, the third-largest business travel company in the world. The BCD Group employs over 14,500 people, fills 360 airplanes full of travelers daily, and operates in 109 countries with total annual sales of over $27 billion. In 2018, Vlissingen was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the World by Business Travel News. In 2019, he visited campus during commencement and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Business from former President Jake. B. Schrum. Vlissingen has been a significant investor in U.S. real estate since 1974 and was a lead investor in Roanoke’s Valley View Mall.

The van Vlissingens are a well-known Dutch family with ties to Appalachia and to the College. In 1896, the van Vlissingen family founded one of the world’s largest private trading groups, SHV, in Utrecht, Netherlands. The family first began as coal traders but now share interests in transport, animal feed, oil and gas exploration and financial services. In 1975, van Vlissingen expanded a company, the BCD Group, owned by his brother, John Fentener van Vlissingen, with interests in travel and travel-related services.

“Mr. van Vlissingen’s support to build and staff this professional development center will leave a legacy to the college and the region,” continued President Wells.

Bendsondy Pierre, a first-generation international student from Les Caymites, Haiti traveled to Peru in the summer of 2022 to teach English. “I have always wanted to teach abroad and thanks to Dr. Gaia and the Career Center, I got to experience something on my bucket list,” said Pierre. “They made it easy, they walked me through everything.”

The Center invites students and alumni, no matter their career journey, to take advantage of the resources available to explore career options, choose a major, find an internship, search for jobs and apply for graduate school. In 2022, 94% of graduates landed full-time jobs or graduate school opportunities within six months of graduation.

“Coming from Haiti, I didn’t speak English and I learned in high school. Coming to the College and being able to travel to another country, another different culture to adapt to in only two months, it was so fun for me to be able to teach a classroom where I had to give students guidance through their own culture,” said Pierre. “The experience and the connections that it gave me were amazing. Even now, I’m still in contact with the people I met in Peru. They keep telling me, ‘we cannot wait to see you again.’”

Our Career Center team offers support for our students during their time in college and beyond. “We offer services for a lifetime,” said Svete. “I look forward to transforming the college to career experience for students at Emory & Henry College and building The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development to become a world-class program and one of the finest centers for career readiness in the nation today.”

To learn more about The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development, visit https://www.ehc.edu/career-center/.

  • Bendsondy Pierre, a senior at Emory & Henry College, spoke with John van Vlissingen following the student panel and dedication ceremony for The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development.
“We are fortunate for the van Vlissingen family’s interest in Emory & Henry students,” said President John W. Wells. “Mr. van Vlissingen, a renowned businessman and entrepreneur, has great empathy for students who thirst for the guidance and skills that will lead them to the working world.”

Location:

The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg" alt="Student Safa Farhoumand helps dedicate the Interfaith Prayer Room." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer">Emory & Henry College Opens Interfaith Prayer Room</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Equipped with chairs, tables, prayer rugs and religious texts, a room in the lower-level of Memorial Chapel on the Emory & Henry College campus is now available for students of all faiths to have a quiet place to pray and meditate.</p><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>