New Home for Wellesley Career Education

October 18, 2016
Joan Soranno and Rebecca Celis ’03

Wellesley’s natural and built environments have long been recognized as masterpieces, and spaces created to educate and inspire women during their time on campus are everywhere. The newest space will inspire Wellesley women on their professional journeys—from students taking the first steps on their career paths to alumnae who are already blazing trails—and it will be designed by women.

Wellesley’s new career education model, set in motion by a historic $50 million gift from two alumnae to create greater opportunities for women in the 21st century, will be housed in a location near Billings. HGA, an integrated architecture, engineering, and master-planning firm, will design the new location under the leadership of award winning architect Joan Soranno, HGA design principal, and Rebecca Celis ’03, HGA project manager.

“Our campus renewal projects are transforming the spaces in which we work and live,” said Dave Chakraborty, Wellesley’s assistant vice president of facilities management and planning. “These spaces are a physical embodiment of the Wellesley experience, and they should also reflect the Wellesley experience. We’re honored to have Joan and her team—and thrilled that Rebecca, an alumna, will be among the women shaping this space.”

Christine Cruzvergara, associate provost and executive director for career education and a member of the committee that selected HGA, offered high praise for Soranno. “Joan and her team were the perfect choice for Wellesley,” she said. “[Her] thorough research, deep belief in women’s education, and creative approach to finding solutions mirror the qualities found in our own students and alumnae.”

Cruzvergara said Soranno’s ideas for bringing the committee’s vision to life were inspiring and demonstrated a strong commitment to the importance of preparing Wellesley students to “craft a lifetime of opportunity and reach their full potential.”

About Celis, Cruzvergara said, “Her understanding of the student and alumna experience complement her architectural knowledge and desire to design a space as special as Wellesley itself.”

The new home for career education will combine Wellesley’s rich traditions with the innovations of the constantly changing workplace and world in which Wellesley students seek to live and work. The space will bring together all generations of the Wellesley community to explore, support one another, and make a difference.

“At the heart of our new model, we are about connections and communities,” Cruzvergara said. “We’re excited to craft a space that reflects the strength of Wellesley’s community coming together to support the exploration and ambition of all our students. Joan and her team have already begun to stretch our thinking and propose unique solutions with the goal of designing a space that will enhance and support the new model.”

Learn more about Wellesley's new career education model.