F&M Stories

Harwood Gift Expands Career Exploration Programs for Students, Alumni

Franklin & Marshall students and alumni will enjoy a broader array of career advising and exploration programs, thanks to a significant deferred gift from Brett S. Harwood '71 and his wife, Margie. Once fully funded, the Harwood Endowment for the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) will support all aspects of OSPGD's innovative programs, its annual budget and operations, and staffing as its employees provide career advising, leadership development and networking opportunities.

"My view is that college isn't only an opportunity to advance your education," Brett Harwood said. "It also is an opportunity to enhance life skills—essential communication abilities, financial acumen, the ability to plan your career goals—and OSPGD does a tremendous job of assisting F&M students in those endeavors. Supporting that is natural for us because the College helped me succeed in many ways after I graduated."

"College isn't only an opportunity to advance your education. It also is an opportunity to enhance life skills—essential communication abilities, financial acumen, the ability to plan your career goals—and OSPGD does a tremendous job of assisting F&M students in those endeavors."

– Brett Harwood '71
Image credit: Deb Grove

This is not the first gift to OSPGD provided by the Harwoods. Their lead gift in 2014 enabled the transformation of the old Appel Infirmary on Hartman Green into the modern facility that now houses OSPGD and the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement. That building opened in 2016. In 2012, Brett established the Harwood Leadership Seminar. Offered through OSPGD, it brings together small cohorts of student leaders and student-athletes to coach critical life skills, including leadership styles and values, communication, team-building, resilience and creativity.

"The Harwood Leadership Seminars are all about breaking down silos among student-athletes and other students," Brett Harwood noted. "Breaking down silos is something Margie and I try to do frequently; we're very committed to helping students learn different ways to lead and succeed. Many people at F&M put a lot of time and effort into that same thing. Giving OSPGD a new and appropriate home at the center of campus with skilled employees and alumni helping F&M students was just a start. It also deserves a large endowment to assure its continued development."

"This generous gift from Brett and Margie is just the latest chapter in their long and steadfast support of the College," said Franklin & Marshall President Barbara K. Altmann. "I have always appreciated Brett's ebullient spirit of service to his alma mater, which includes his previous philanthropic gifts, his active engagement with our students and faculty as an alumnus, and his long tenure on our Board of Trustees. The Harwoods' support for the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development is a huge help in launching future generations of F&M Diplomats to become the leaders our world needs."

Brett Harwood was a member of the Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2018 and is currently a member of Leadership Council and the Steering Committee for the Now to Next capital campaign. He earned F&M's Alumni Medal in 2018, given by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in recognition of sustained, distinguished and outstanding service to the College. Harwood is principal and co-founder of Harwood Properties of Jersey City, N.J., and Boston, as well as the founder of Park Equity and chairman of Welcome Parking, both of Jersey City.

Harwood majored in government at Franklin & Marshall and earned his juris doctorate from the Temple University School of Law in 1974. He and Margie live in New Jersey and have two children.

Harwood recalled that career services during his time as a student "consisted mainly of a bulletin board with 3-by-5-inch index cards containing an announcement of an on-campus interview or a contact phone number to call at a company if a student was looking for a job. We're light years ahead of that now. OSPGD's services are a big part of that and so is F&M's energized True Blue network. I'm so impressed with how many alumni and parents are willing to assist students in their next steps."

He recognizes that today's F&M students are graduating into a world of uncertainty, but pointed out that those conditions make support from OSPGD even more important.

"Franklin & Marshall College has been around for more than 200 years; it's certainly not the first time its students have graduated in uncertain times," Harwood said. "I think our recent graduates really understand that OSPGD is there to help them as they launch careers, consider graduate schools, evaluate next steps or seek transitions into new opportunities. The OSPGD staff does a great job of supporting careers or advanced educational opportunities, as well as encouraging alumni networks that students can use to find out about different professions. The opportunities in this time of uncertainty are excellent. I have often told students that it's important to have a life plan, but if they think that means their life is going to follow a linear path, they may be surprised at how things turn out."

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