College officials and students celebrated the grand opening of Smiddy’s Closet with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the college Wesley Foundation Wednesday. The closet, a business clothing resource for UVA Wise students, grew out of a partnership between The Wesley Foundation and the college’s Department of Career Discovery and Planning.
Cash-strapped students who need professional attire for job interviews, formal presentations and jobs may have one complete outfit per academic year. The clothes are theirs to keep.
Chancellor Donna Henry told a crowd of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members that UVA Wise is a place where people of all backgrounds have the ability to pursue and fulfill their dreams.
“Smiddy’s Closet is yet another example of this commitment,” Henry said. “We want to ensure that our students and our graduates are ready to enter the workforce. We want to ensure that we break down barriers for entry. No student should ever decline an interview due to a lack of business attire. No student should ever decline an interview because they feel unequipped or unprepared to present his or her best self to a prospective employer.
Henry said Smiddy’s Closet will provide empowerment, ease doubt and instill confidence in students
“I am excited about the transformational potential of this resource for students,” Henry said.
The Wesley Foundation’s Reverend Beth Tipton, a co-founder of Smiddy’s Closet, said the foundation is pleased to work with the College’s Office of Career Discovery and Planning on the project.
“Smiddy’s Closet is transforming lives,” Tipton said.
Smiddy’s Closet collected its initial inventory through a clothing drive. Individuals and businesses donated gently used or new clothes, as well as monetary contributions. Interested parties may make donations by contacting Director of Career Discovery and Planning Director Neva Bryan firstname.lastname@example.org Beth Tipton email@example.com.