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Crystal Clayton, a career-management professional with more than 20 years of experience working with graduate and undergraduate students, has been named executive director of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center. She will begin her new duties on Aug. 28, 2017.
Clayton was selected after a competitive national search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Stephen Rankin, associate dean of students and chaplain.
“Crystal has built a stellar reputation as a student mentor and a leader in professional development,” said K.C. Mmeje, SMU vice president for student affairs. “In addition, her deep connections in the Texas and Oklahoma business communities are a built-in regional advantage for current and future SMU students, especially as they plan internships and post-college careers. We welcome her to the Hilltop and look forward to sharing her expertise with both undergraduate and graduate students at SMU.”
SMU trustee Fred Hegi ’66, who in 2001 joined with his wife, Jan ’66, along with their family in providing the lead gift for a $3 million endowment and expansion of SMU’s career center, said Clayton is well prepared to help students. “She is the person we were looking for,” he said. “Her experience, combined with her passion for helping students and graduates find their career paths, make her a tremendous asset for SMU. With her leadership, we will continue our path to be one of the nation’s top five career centers.”
As director of the JCPenney Leadership Center and an adjunct management instructor in the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, Clayton works with students, staff and faculty to create and implement several successful career and professional development initiatives and events. She leads the Center’s work in alumni and corporate relations, recruitment and admissions, career counseling, professional development programs, program assessment, and partnership development, among many other areas.
In addition, Clayton leads the Center’s Alumni and Student Advisory Boards and Faculty Committee and serves on the OU Writing Center Advisory Board. She created, developed, and launched a Board Fellows Program for leadership associates, which allows students to serve as nonprofit board members. She founded, organized, and led the Center’s Peer Training Team, initiated an alumni career conference in Price College of Business, and helped reboot OU’s Women in Business Leadership Conference. She also designed and taught leadership courses and programs for Price College, including a minor in leadership.
Previously, Clayton served as director of student services and associate director for career management with the Full-Time MBA Program in Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. In progressively more responsible roles, she counseled students on networking, résumé and cover-letter writing, successful interviewing, career selection, and job-search strategies, among other career-related topics. She advised student leadership for more than 30 Jones School organizations, as well as initiated and developed an MBA team mentoring program. In addition, she was sponsor of the Rice Chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs, served on the Jones School Corporate Advisory Board, and participated on the Jones School E-Learning Committee.
Clayton’s professional recognitions include a 2015 Students’ Choice Staff Appreciation Award and a 2013-14 Dean’s Excellence Award for Professional Staff from OU. Currently, she serves on the executive committee of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Griffiths Leadership Society for Women. From 2009 to 2012, she served as a board member of the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Career Development.
A native of St. Louis, Clayton received her B.A. degree in English from Truman State University. She earned an M.A. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an Ed.D. degree in educational leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.