In 1988, former first lady of Baker University Carolyn Lambert established a program of chosen students to both participate in important university events and generate connections with alumni. In memory of Parmenter Hall, the group was named ParMentors.
Lambert, Former Assistant Dean of Students Nancy Richard and University Trustee Margie Pearson joined together to create the program.
It was later that Trustee Susanne Teel would join the organization and develop the mentoring aspect of the program in which students pair up with a mentor primarily made up of alumni, with life experience in the student’s major.
Mentors help with building resumes, generating internships, answering questions and even leading students to jobs. Mentors also visit as guest speakers at the group’s monthly meetings.
Along with participating in the mentoring program, students are trained in proper etiquette—which include a five-course meal—and are taught how to dress properly for certain professional situations.
After President Dan Lambert retired and he and Carolyn moved to Lawrence, the fate of ParMentors was handed down to Richard and Teel. From that point on, Teel has remained a part of ParMentors as one of the directors. Teel attends meetings, aids in the interviewing process and assists in anything else that is necessary.
“The ParMentors have continued to serve as hosts to the university in numerous events,” Teel said. “It is a source of pride to the students and to the university. What Carolyn Lambert established 30 years ago has stood the test of time.”
The program is now also led by Kelsey Nolte, the assistant to the president. Although the foundations of the program are virtually the same, there has been significant growth. The mentoring connections have created a network for students to access when they are in need of advice or career opportunities.
“Through these mentor relationships, we have gotten internships for students and we have gotten jobs,” Nolte said. “And if their mentor hasn’t secured something like that for them, their mentor knows someone who knows someone and it’s really just a spider web that works for these students.”
The program has now established three main tiers. The first tier involves students volunteering at events. Convocation, commencement, Founders Day and many other prominent occasions on Baker’s campus are opportunities for those in ParMentors to volunteer their time and occasionally speak about their Baker experience. The second tier is attending monthly meetings. While honoring sports obligations and academic responsibilities. The third tier involves a relationship with a mentor. Mentors are assigned to students based on their majors and career goals.
Senior Madeline McCrary is currently a co-director of ParMentors and has had great success with her assigned mentors.
“I have been fortunate to have two incredible mentors,” McCrary said. “I have been in contact with both. I am currently interning for one of my mentors and plan to job shadow and have gained helpful information from my other mentor.”
ParMentors accepts 30-35 students into the program. These students must be enrolled in the Baldwin City campus, have a minimum of a 3.2 GPA and have completed at least 12 college credit hours.
The strong history and wide range of connections offered by ParMentors continue to grow, aiding students in their college careers and their futures.