School of Architecture remembers former director of career services, Connie Caldwell
Connie Caldwell, former director of career services at the School of Architecture, died on June 11 at her home in Cazenovia. She was 65 years old.
Born in West Chester, Pa., Caldwell moved to Nashua, New Hampshire as a teenager and went on to graduate from Rivier University, formerly Rivier College, with a major in health education, and is through the later became a certified yoga teacher, Tai Chi teacher and vegetarian cooking teacher. According to his obituary, by connecting with people in these areas of health and wellness, Caldwell’s talent for guiding and guiding others became evident.
In 1994, Caldwell brought his passion for helping others to his role as Director of Career Services at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. She led the school’s career guidance services for over 20 years, touching the lives of hundreds of students, until her retirement in the fall of 2018. During this time, she created a service program career guidance which was known nationally and internationally as a model for other schools.
“Connie was a creative and visionary leader. It broadened the mission of career services programming to include not only extensive resources for students but also for alumni, long before this was a trend in higher education, ”says Katryn Hansen, former dean. Assistant of the School of Architecture.
As an experienced career counselor, Caldwell opened the door to professional practices to access student strengths and conduct job interviews. She coached students on interview techniques and helped companies select talent, gaining a high degree of trust.
“With a rare knack for bonding, Connie has nurtured extensive mentoring networks among alumni, employers and students, incorporating ideas from students and professionals to create a range of additional educational tools,” says Hansen. .
Caldwell has been widely recognized by the profession as a pioneer in her role due to her ability to guide and connect some of the best architectural students in North America with many of the best architectural firms in the world.
In 2013, the research firm DesignIntelligence named Caldwell as one of the 30 most admired educators from the disciplines of architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture for his pioneering efforts in career services. She received a Special Dean’s Citation Award for Outstanding Service which publicly recognized her substantial and meaningful legacy at the School of Architecture graduation ceremony in May 2019.
There is a broad consensus among professionals within and beyond the school that Caldwell’s work in preparing students for professional life was the primary reason graduates of the School of Architecture of Syracuse University were the most hired alumni in the country, according to the 2018-19 ranking. report, compiled by DesignIntelligence.
“Connie laid the groundwork for an incredible career services program at the School of Architecture,” says Kristen DeWolf, director of career services at the School of Architecture. “His passion for helping students, his positivity and his mentorship will continue to have a profound impact on the students and alumni of our school.”
In the fall of 2019, a generous donation from the deGraffenried Foundation, run by four alumni of Syracuse University, established the Connie Caldwell Summer Internship Award to support the commitment to students and alumni that Caldwell has displayed during his stay at the School of Architecture. The award helps cover the expenses associated with an internship for a full-time architectural student each summer.
“Connie’s reach in the field of architecture was far reaching and her unique ability to connect students with leaders in the profession was invaluable,” says Elizabeth Gralton G’08 (M.Arch.), Board Member of the deGraffenried Foundation. “She made our transition to the real world achievable by teaching us the most effective ways to communicate our work and fostering an impressive network of alumni. She may not have been a teacher or an architect, but she was a founding staff member and I know her impact will be felt for decades to come. “
“Connie was an incredible presence. She was determined to help every student achieve their future career goals, ”said Jaclyn Doyle ’21 (B.Arch.), First recipient of the Connie Caldwell Summer Internship Award. “His dedication to students has directly translated into the reputation of the Syracuse architecture program and this is what really sets our alumni apart from the workforce. “
“But more than anything, Connie cared deeply about people,” her obituary notes. “The messages to the families of former students, colleagues and friends reflect how much she has touched others in an indelible way.”
“Connie was a positive and supportive colleague and friend who inspired and mentored many school staff,” says Hansen. “The memories of her warmth, humor and keen intelligence will always be with us. “
“Connie’s extraordinary service, commitment to excellence and entrepreneurial spirit have had a lasting impact on the life of the school,” said Michael Speaks, Dean of the School of Architecture. “She was and always will be the heart and soul of our school; she was loved and always will be.
In addition to his work in career services, Caldwell “enjoyed yoga, gardening, podcasts, reading and spiritual practices, music, hiking and rowing on his elegant speed boat on Lake Cazenovia” , according to his obituary. “Her beloved dog Whimsy was on her lap most of the time she sat, and her daughter and husband were always the center of her attention despite her active career and busy life.”
A Caldwell Remembrance Celebration will be held at the School of Architecture this fall.
Those who wish to honor her memory can contribute to the Connie Caldwell Summer Internship Award fund by writing a check to “Syracuse University” with the words “in support of the Connie Caldwell Summer Internship Award” in the note line, and sending it at: Bureau of Advancement, Syracuse University, 640 Skytop Road, Room 240, Syracuse NY 13244-5160. To donate online, visit soa.syr.edu/donner.