With the help of a $300,000 gift from Willamette alumnus Punit Renjen and the Deloitte Foundation, Willamette University is deepening its commitment to help underrepresented students thrive post-graduation with the creation of the new Renjen/Deloitte Foundation Pathways Program.
The program will provide dedicated career resources to underrepresented students at Willamette, including students of color, first-generation students, LGBTQ students, DACA and immigrant students, international students, transfer students and students with disabilities.
“Many underrepresented students come to campus without the connections and support that others have,” said Renjen, who came from India in 1984 on a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to study at Willamette University. “When I came to the United States, I didn’t have embedded networks. Through the Renjen/Deloitte Foundation Pathways Program, we will provide diverse students an opportunity to springboard their lives and careers with mentorship, and other vital program resources.”
About a third of Willamette’s students fit into at least one of those underrepresented groups, said Willamette Career Development Director Mandy Devereux.
“Identity and background play a big role in how students engage in career discovery,” Devereux said. “They look for certain career resources that align with that identity, or they could be less likely to access career services because of that identity. We want all of our students to make well-informed choices about their career, and it’s not a process we want them to start in their senior year. We want them to come to us early and often. This program will help us be more proactive and intentional about engaging and building relationships with underrepresented students during their career selection process.”
The Renjen/Deloitte Foundation Pathways Program will help enhance career services for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students by providing targeted mentorship, advising, networking opportunities, graduate school preparation and exploration, workshops and internship and job search resources.
“This program will create pathways and help shape students’ careers, particularly for those who don’t have the same support networks or resources that others do,” said Erin Scanlon, president of the Deloitte Foundation. “I hope this will also inspire the students who benefit from this program to pay it forward and be that advisor and mentor to the next generation of students and future business leaders.”
“Willamette is committed to ensuring that all students are prepared and successful when they leave campus after graduation,” said President Steve Thorsett. “Whether they enter the workforce or pursue graduate studies, this program will help us provide additional support and resources to the students who need them most as they prepare for 21st century careers. We are so grateful for the support of Punit and Heather and the Deloitte Foundation, which will help Willamette continue to be a leader in this area and underscore its commitment to underrepresented students.”
About Punit Renjen
Born and raised in India, Punit Renjen is a 1987 graduate of Willamette University. The University conferred on him an honorary doctorate in 2019. Renjen is Deloitte Global CEO and, through a career spanning 34 years, has held numerous leadership roles within Deloitte. A former member of the Willamette University Board of Trustees, Punit is active on a number of boards and recently served as Chair of The United Way Worldwide Board of Trustees. He was named among the 100 most influential business leaders who have graduated from schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. In 2020 he was awarded the Oregon History Makers Medal. He is married to Heather, and they have a son.
About the Deloitte Foundation
The Deloitte Foundation, founded in 1928, is a not-for-profit organization that supports education in the U.S. through a variety of initiatives that help develop the next generation of diverse business leaders, and their influencers, and promote excellence in teaching, research and curriculum innovation. The Foundation sponsors an array of national programs relevant to a variety of professional services, benefiting high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and educators. Learn more about the Deloitte Foundation.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte organization”). DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms and related entities are legally separate and independent entities, which cannot obligate or bind each other in respect of third parties. DTTL and each DTTL member firm and related entity is liable only for its own acts and omissions, and not those of each other. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more.