newsmbu center for life success hires executive director set to open this fall

MBU Center for Life Success hires executive director, set to open this fall

Crystal Graham

thy nguyn mary baldwinMary Baldwin University’s new McCree Center for Life Success will offer student services in a dynamic hub of centralized and holistic resources for life design and ongoing professional development.

Established through the through the generosity of longtime university benefactors Donald and Gabby McCree, the hub should be in full operation this fall.

The center will be staffed by a team of professional advisors and success coaches that will support students throughout their academic journey. Alumni will benefit from networking and professional development opportunities as well.

Thy Nguyen has been hired to serve as the first executive director of the center and brings 22 years of student career services experience to the position.

“At Mary Baldwin, we are adapting our institution to better prepare our students to thrive in the workforce after graduation,” said MBU President Pamela Fox. “The McCree Center is central to our approach, and Thy is the right person to help us deliver on our mission of empowering students with the critical thinking and collaborative skills they need to create lives of purpose and professional success.”

Nguyen said the university’s mission of student empowerment, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to career readiness attracted him to the position.

“I really like Mary Baldwin’s focus on serving students from a diverse range of backgrounds — particularly the number of first-generation students that attend,” said Nguyen. “The chance to start something new with the McCree Center and use my 22 years of experience in higher education and career services to bring that vision to life is very exciting.”

Nguyen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and master’s degree in postsecondary education and student affairs from the University of Northern Iowa, as well as a certificate in learning and organizational change from Northwestern University.

Nguyen’s 20-plus year career in higher education has centered around helping prepare students for workforce success.

He has held administrative roles at Northwestern University’s Office of Career Services and McCormick Office of Career Development, served as executive director for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Career Center, and spent the past four years as an associate vice provost for career services at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Nguyen has also sat on advisory committees for the National Association of Colleges and Employers and presented at numerous national and regional conferences in the career services field.

“I enjoy working to create partnerships, employment pipelines, and career readiness opportunities with governmental agencies, all types of organizations — including nonprofits and not-for-profits — and companies of all sizes across the U.S.,” Nguyen said.

Among Nguyen’s first tasks is to determine what the McCree Center will look like, both online and on campus.

“I want to move quickly into the vision and mission for the center … [and] that’s certainly going to take a lot of community engagement and collaboration,” Nguyen said. That will be imperative as we work “to operationalize, get the team in place, and start to execute on some of those programmatic elements and build workforce partnerships.”

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.