From his office on the fourth floor of the historic Tribune Building on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City, Neumont University President Shaun McAlmont, can see and hear progress.
Next door to the computer science-focused university, the $110 million, 2,500-seat George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater is under construction – set to open in 2016, with an additional $12.8 million facelift for Regent Street and Orpheum Avenue creating a new arts district, right in the institution’s back yard.
“We’re smack in the middle of progress,” McAlmont muses, and you get the feeling he’s talking about more than the adjacent construction.
Although McAlmont is relatively new to his post at Neumont, it hasn’t taken him long to settle in. He brings a unique skill-set to the university, where students earn bachelor’s degrees in three years. His résumé includes more than 20 years of experience in the field of education and training, including roles at Stanford University and Brigham Young University. He was most recently the CEO of Lincoln Educational Services—a technical education institution with campuses in 15 states.
McAlmont’s enthusiasm for his new position is hard to miss, especially when he speaks about the connection he feels to Neumont students. Originally from Canada, McAlmont says he knows what it’s like to be different – something a lot of Neumont students can relate to. He attended Brigham Young University on a track scholarship in the late 1980s – arriving at the predominantly LDS campus as one of the school’s few minority students and a Catholic. To say he was not a typical student seems almost laughable.
It’s the experience of being the odd man out that gives McAlmont insight into Neumont’s students– and his role as a leader. He empathizes with students who often feel they did not “fit in” in high school, and he shows them a path for success in spite of those differences. To this day, he holds BYU’s sixth-fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles. Currently, he is a memeber of BYU's Marriott School National Advisory Council.
Showcasing Neumont’s current success and leveraging the resources of his past are two keys for growing the university’s presence along the Wasatch Front. “There’s a reason Forbes consistently names Salt Lake a top five city for tech in the U.S., and Neumont continues to play a key role in growing the technology sector and economic prosperity of the state.”
Neumont’s numbers prove the institution is making an impact: 97 percent of Neumont University graduates are working in their chosen field within six months of graduation and earning an average first-year salary of $63,000.*
“We know companies are looking for more than theory because we ask them,” McAlmont says. “We tailor our curriculum to fill a need in the tech industry. That’s why our graduates get hired at companies like Google, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay, Towers Watson, Vivint and Rio Tinto.” The university offers a project-based curriculum that goes well beyond traditional models of higher education in preparing students for the workplace.
“We owe it to our community to help them understand the impact of our outcomes. I’m excited about the opportunities for us here,” he says over the sounds of constructiona nd students moving to classrooms. Indeed, it sounds like progress.
* Employment and salary statistics are calculated using data from the 2011-2014 Neumont University graduates. Neumont verifies employment and first-year compensation by employers in writing. Neumont does not guarantee employment or first-year compensation for future graduates.