Congratulations and welcome to the Class of 2012, the newest members of the Marymount University Alumni Association, who graduated on Sunday, May 20. This Q&A is with Jeffery Wilkins ’12, who received his undergraduate degree in Communications. Jeffery was the chair of the Senior Class Gift Campaign and the head coordinator for the Voyage to Utopia Fashion Show while at Marymount, and here he shares first-hand his reasons for attending MU, the family atmosphere on campus, and where he’s heading next.
1. How did you come to be a student at Marymount?
While making my college decisions in my senior year of high school, I applied to 12 different schools (Savannah School of Art and Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and many more). As I was getting my acceptance letters, the decision that I thought would be so easy became challenging. To make my decision easier, I pulled out the various viewbooks I had collected and wrote a checklist of what I wanted in a school. My list was so particular; it had what kind of events I wanted to attend, the class size I wanted for my 8 a.m. freshman classes, the sports games I wanted to attend, what clubs I wanted to be president of, etc. As I was sitting there in the middle of the living room, throwing useless viewbooks over my shoulder, two schools remained - SCAD in Savannah, GA, and a small private school in Arlington, VA, with 2000 students in their undergraduate student body and only 600 students living on campus, by the name of Marymount University. My final decision came to two main points:
: Marymount University is located just 5 miles from the nation’s capitol, and just four hours from New York City. The possibilities one has with being so close to major metropolitan hubs are endless, and I am speaking from experience. I have had the opportunity to attend some amazing galas in DC and some great fashion shows both locally and at Bryant Park during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The day after graduation, I was sitting on an Acela train headed to New York for two days for training for my new job at Louis Vuitton North America. Attending school in Savannah would have limited my experience to only what Savannah had to offer.
: From the day I was accepted at Marymount, everyone welcomed me and my family with open arms. I remember the numerous letters that were sent to my house from the SGA president Arthur Banian, the President of the University Dr. Bundschuh, the Undergraduate Admissions Office, and many others. Marymount was the only school that sent me a t-shirt; I’m not saying that a t-shirt made my decision, but that they made me a part of Marymount even before I arrived on campus. The family aspect of Marymount didn't stop on move-in day or over the next four years. I can honestly say that Marymount doesn't feel like home; it is home.
When I started to think about the opportunities that would be allotted to me while at Marymount, it wasn't a hard decision and ultimately the best decision I have ever made.
2. What was your Marymount experience like/what do you remember most?
The amazing thing about Marymount and the size of campus is that everyone is going to have a custom, individually unique experience. I am so privileged to say that my four years here at Marymount have been phenomenal. I am 100% sure that I would not have received the same opportunities at any other university or college, small or large.
The experience I remember most is planning the Annual Voyage to Utopia Fashion Show in February 2012 with my fellow students (Ciera Butts '12, Megan Butler '12, Karen Juarez '13, Marcellas Hill '13, Kirby Markivich '14, Dana Mannarino '14, Jabriel Hassan '15). I remember how hard the planning process was, and how I had the support of Student Activities to keep me on track as Head Coordinator of the show. I appreciated the help from the Development Office - especially Erin Schesling - who assisted us with raising funds for the show. Even when it came down to funding and budget, we had the much needed support of Student Government, Dean [Frank] Rizzo and Student Development, Dr. [Chris] Domes (vice president for Enrollment and Student Services), and Dr. [Matthew] Shank (the University president).
The day of the show we had over 600 people in attendance, and a majority of them were faculty, staff, and students. It just reinforced everything that Marymount represents: a university for the students that supports them in their endeavors. That night after everything was tallied, the Voyage to Utopia Fashion Show raised close to $4,000, which was given to the Marymount Presidential Assistance Fund.
The support that the Marymount family provides is what I will remember most and truly cherish; the fact that so many people care about you, your well being, and the project that you have taken on is phenomenal. The support people receive here on campus is at levels comparable to the support one would receive from their family. That face-to-face support is what students really need to excel in all aspects of life, rather than exclusively in the classroom or extracurricular activities.
3. Where will your Marymount education be taking you next?
My Marymount education will be taking me back to MU in the fall with hopes of starting graduate school to get a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. With a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s in Business, I feel as though I will be given the tools to be extremely competitive in the global market. Also, as a current employee of Louis Vuitton North America, I will be working in the Public Relations and Marketing Department in their corporate office on east 57th street in New York City. While working in corporate America and using the skills I have learned in college, I want to stay true to my alma mater’s beliefs of giving back to the community and do pro bono public relations for non-profit organizations.