Career services center at IU's Kelley School to be named for alumnus Conrad Prebys

  • April 21, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Construction will begin this summer on the two-story, $14 million Conrad Prebys Career Services Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Once completed in December 2017, the Prebys Career Services Center will meet an important need for an increasing number of students at Kelley as well as other undergraduates across the Bloomington campus.

Over the past 10 years, the number of IU Bloomington students served by Kelley’s Undergraduate Career Services Office has almost doubled. With the expansion of Hodge Hall and an increase in the number of students admitted to Kelley, the facility can no longer keep up with the demand.

The career center was among several needs addressed when Prebys, president of Progress Construction and Management in San Diego, committed $20 million to IU and the Kelley School in the fall. Other initiatives included an endowment fund for attracting and retaining top faculty and scholarships for high-performing undergraduates from underrepresented populations.

“The career services at Kelley are among the most innovative and effective in the country,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “It will be wonderful to have a facility that matches the quality of the services provided, and we are very grateful to Mr. Prebys for being the catalyst for the new center.”

Kesner said Prebys’ gift also will ensure that Kelley's job placement activities, facilities and services continue to receive “A-plus” grades by corporate visitors, including those whose opinions are valued by prospective students.

Employers surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek have ranked Kelley highly for its holistic approach to undergraduate business education and the positive impact that has on Kelley students, along with the school's commitment to diversity.

“I love Indiana University, the beautiful Bloomington campus, and it’s exciting to be able to make this gift to the university,” Prebys said in October. “I am very proud to help the Kelley School build on its strong foundation and further its profound promise to students and their futures.”

The innovative Kelley Compass program provides personal and professional development that leads undergraduate students toward setting and reaching goals that are directly connected to their major area of study. The classes also teach students how to succeed within teams and embrace diversity. All IU undergraduates can take advantage of Kelley’s undergraduate career services if they take the first two of three Compass classes.

Similarly, the Graduate Career Services Office created the award-winning Me Inc. program that helps students develop their personal brand, understand their leadership style and dive into career development.

The existing suite of offices for undergraduate career services -- which date back 35 years -- was not part of the recent expansion and renovation of Hodge Hall. Demand and space needs for graduate career services have outstripped the capacity of what’s now available in the Godfrey Graduate and Executive Center.

The new facility, which is an addition to Hodge Hall, will nearly double the amount of facilities where recruiters will be able to meet privately with students. It includes more than 70 interview rooms as well as nearly 30 offices for staff. The current design for the first floor will allow for flexible use, including a new multipurpose area where visiting companies can set up displays and hold presentations.

Prebys was raised in a working-class neighborhood of South Bend where few aspired to attend college. His father was a tool-and-die maker, and he grew up in a small, crowded house with his parents, four brothers, his grandmother and an uncle.

As a child, he developed a heart condition and was informed that he would lead a sedentary life. He focused on music as a future career choice. The turning point in his life was an inspirational teacher who exposed him to the arts and encouraged him to further his education. He was the first of his brothers to go to college. While at IU, he participated in the ROTC Program.

Prebys returned to South Bend after graduation to work as a mid-level manager for a local steel company and operated a pizzeria with his brothers near the University of Notre Dame campus. In 1966, he went to San Diego to visit a brother and decided to stay. There, he partnered with Tom Sparrow to found Progress Construction and Management, which has distinguished itself in Southern California by being a developer of affordable, middle-class homes. Prebys bought out Sparrow in 1979.

Over the years, Prebys has given generously to medical research, educational and arts organizations in the San Diego area, including the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, The Old Globe Theater, the Zoological Society of San Diego, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Salk Institute, Scripps Mercy Hospital and San Diego State University. He also supports the La Jolla Music Society, the Boys & Girls Club, the local PBS station and the Masterpiece Trust, which co-produces “Downton Abbey.”    

This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact, and how to participate, please visit

Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value of approximately $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.

Related Links

An artist's rendering of the Conrad Prebys Career Services Center

An artist's rendering of the Conrad Prebys Career Services Center

Print-Quality Photo

Conrad T. Prebys

Conrad T. Prebys

Print-Quality Photo

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