John Ozzie Nelson

Visualizing Space

John "Ozzie" Nelson '87 talks about his vision and Nelson Inc.'s work on the new Alumni, Career and Corporate Engagement space.

The importance of bringing together students, alumni and employers: “This model matches the kind of bold vision and innovation that you see at St. Thomas every day. Potential employers can come to the space and see students every single day in an environment that sets the stage for more purposeful intersections. St. Thomas has been a pioneer in a lot of connection programs. Think of this as the evolution of ‘Take a Tommie to Lunch,’ with the ability to be much more impromptu."

Ozzie Nelson
John "Ozzie" Nelson

St. Thomas as a partner of choice: “St. Thomas is preparing students who are big thinkers and adaptive, collaborative problem- solvers, and that’s what employers are looking for. There are many statistics about the fact that students studying today will enter fields or jobs that don’t exist today. St. Thomas is preparing students with a solid background to be able to adapt to what employers will ask of them. It’s a combination of that strong liberal arts background and encouragement to embrace things that today are unknown to us.”

How to survive workplace automation: “The question is, how do you thrive in an automated world? Employees will need to be interpreters, good listeners, critical thinkers and have the ability to communicate with people. They will need technical skills to translate the vision to the computer and analytic skills to see what the computer missed. The more automated the world gets, the more sophisticated the interpreter needs to be.”

Reengaging with your alma mater: “Typically, there are people who are excited by change and the future, and people who have concern and consternation about losing what we had. The best way to walk that middle ground is to get involved and to not assume that everything’s changing. There really has been a great deal of respect for the history of the school, the traditions of the school and the things that I think have mattered. It’s an opportunity to help build the future of an institution that always was strong but now is going to be one of the finest universities in the country.”

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