Noble retires after decade, leaves behind legacy

Noble has worked in the Career Center since 2005.--Photo Courtesy of John Noble
Noble has worked in the Career Center since 2005.–Photo Courtesy of John Noble

John Noble, director of the Career Center, will retire at the end of the semester. Noble has worked at the College since 2005.

Noble shared his plans for retirement on April 15. Since his announcement, the College has not posted a job opening.

Prior to joining the College staff, Noble served as director of career services at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as director at Duke’s Career Center. Early in his career, Noble also worked as a third grade teacher, as well as an editor for several publishing companies.

Since his arrival on campus, Noble has overseen several major changes at the Career Center. Over the course of 10 years, the Career Center has moved locations three times. After operating out of the basement of Stetson Library and then Weston Hall, the Career Center relocated to Mears House. This move allowed staff to collaborate with members of Alumni Relations on a more regular basis.

“That change, and the move to Mears House, made us close colleagues with the office of Alumni Relations,” Noble said. “So much of what we do in the Career Center is towards the goal of connecting students with alumni, and being across the hall from Alumni Relations makes that goal so much easier to accomplish.”

In recent years, the Career Center has also undergone staff reorganization. As a result, each counselor now offers an expertise in specific career fields, including education, the arts, nonprofits and STEM, among others, to cater to the interests of different students.

Noble mentioned that the emergence of social media during his tenure has additionally impacted the daily functioning of the Career Center, which now uses its website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach out to students.

Noble is most proud of his work developing the Winter Study SPEC21 internship course. Since its inception, 300 students have taken advantage of the program in order to gain exposure to a new career field, with parent or alumni sponsors serving as mentors.

“Students have had the chance to sample a huge array of career fields, from sports broadcasting at NBC, to teaching in Denmark, to the politics of Capitol Hill, to filmmaking in Hollywood, to book publishing in New York, to arts administration at The Clark and MassMoCA and the list goes on,” Noble said.

During his time, Noble also worked on the Entrepenuers@Williams business plan competition, the Route 2 program and the Career Discovery Program, which aims to increase awareness about the Career Center among first-year and second-year students. 

“Nearly 60 percent of all frosh have had some personal contact with the Career Center, which is key to their developing a thoughtful approach to life after Williams,” Noble added.

“We, his colleagues, are very sad to lose John, a consummate professional and wonderful boss from whom we have all learned so much,” Jane Cary, director of science and technology advising at the Career Center, said. “Many grateful Ephs have benefitted from his expertise these past 10 years. The improvements he has initiated in the Career Center will stand as his legacy for years to come.”

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with John since his arrival at Williams.  He is a consummate professional and has lead our team through many successful achievements and collaborations, including our move to Mears House. I’m excited for him as he moves on to his next adventure, but he will definitely be missed here at Williams,” said Robin Meyer, associate director of the Career Center.

“Getting to know John over the past few years has been an honor and a privilege. His vision to bring the Career Center into the fold of the Office of College Relations, and the college’s support of that evolution, has been transformational. Collectively, we think differently about how best to support current students and to maximize the impact of the alumni and parent network for all members of the Williams family. We’re indebted to John for the role he played in that transition and for serving Williams at the end of his own career dedicated to the career services field,” said Director of Alumni Relations Brooks Foehl.

In addition to his roles in the Career Center, Noble has also been a dedicated member of the faculty/staff golf league, including the bi-annual student/faculty/staff golf scrambles.