UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sixteen years after graduating from Penn State, things have come full circle for Randolph Reliford.
Reliford, an alumnus of the Smeal College of Business, has joined Penn State Law as the new assistant dean for career services, bringing with him years of varied experience in private legal practice and career development.
“I feel incredibly happy to be here, back in my old stomping grounds, and to have the chance to reflect on my own personal growth and development,” Reliford said. “I grew up a lot as a student here, and to be back in a place where I can really appreciate my own growth is going to help make me a better dean.”
Reliford, who greets visitors to his office with a beaming smile and a genuine interest in their success, previously worked in career development at Whittier Law School, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and the University of San Diego following four and a half years of private practice in commercial litigation at the law firm of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP in Philadelphia.
At Penn State Law, Reliford directs the law school’s comprehensive program of career advising, development, and counseling for students. He works closely with law students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as regional and national employers to grow career opportunities for Penn State Law graduates.
Although Reliford knew from a young age that he wanted to be a lawyer, and although he enjoyed his work as an attorney, he began to feel that there was another way he could use his talents to help other people – even if he wasn’t sure how. It was only when he spoke to the dean of admissions at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin Law School, that he began to realize what that path might be.
“I thought maybe I could make a career of helping people realize how to take what they’ve been blessed with and what they’ve learned, put them together, and be happy,” Reliford said. Reliford’s approach to career development starts with the students and helping them realize their talents and how they can take those talents to make the world a better place.
“I know that might sound hokey, but that really is my goal,” Reliford said. “I want to help students become the best versions of themselves they can be.”
Although it was a challenge at first to make the jump to career development, Reliford has found great success in what he describes as “helping people get rid of that ‘Monday’ feeling” by helping students find careers in which they’ll excel both personally and professionally. Now at Penn State Law, Reliford has found the kind of success and happiness that he wants to help the students who come through his office find in their own lives.
“Everything has fallen into place. I’m in the zone and it feels great to be here,” Reliford said. “When you’re looking forward to work on Monday, like I do here, you know you’re where you’re supposed to be — which is what I hope to help our students achieve.”