Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seeking Input from Marian College Alumni

After eight years of tireless and dedicated service to Marian College as director of alumni affairs, Ann Burnett Kreicker ’74 decided to begin a new chapter in her life. Ann recently accepted a position at George Washington Community High School in Indianapolis.

As you know, Marian College will soon become Marian University. (The celebration will take place on Saturday, June 27 at 10:00 a.m. at the main entrance to campus.) We are committed to building a great Catholic university. Metaphorically, we are building a cathedral. It will take a generation of hard work and commitment to make this vision a reality.

There is no question that this is an important moment in the institution's history and at this juncture it seems appropriate to seek input from others and to re-evaluate the role and responsibilities of director of alumni affairs before selecting someone for the position. The Office of Alumni Affairs reports to the vice president for marketing communication, which is me. I created this blog to gather comments from alumni and others who are interested. I won't be adding to this blog. My plan is to read the comments posted, i.e., to gather input.

Here is my view. The college, soon to be a university, has had four goals for the last seven years:

  1. Elevate its academic stature,
  2. Create a more vibrant campus,
  3. Be more Catholic and Franciscan, and
  4. Raise the money to accomplish the first three.

With these goals in mind, looking to the future, I would like to see 1,000 passionate Marian College graduates engaged in fundraising, recruiting students, and helping students succeed.

I would like your thoughts on what you think are the most important activities. To help you, I have grouped the support activities of the Office of Alumni Affairs into six (6) general areas. It is a long list. As we look to the future, what would you keep, discontinue, or cut back? What would you emphasize?

1) Fundraising

a) Building a network of alumni donors
b) Promoting class scholarships

2) Recruiting students

a) Helping to build relationships with feeder schools
b) Helping to build relationships with parishes
c) Helping to recruit from specific geographic areas
d) Helping to recruit for specific academic majors, e.g., accounting, chemistry

3) Helping students succeed

a) Etiquette dinners
b) Networking events
c) Providing internships
d) Mentoring
e) Mock interviews

4) Alumni / student events

a) Freshmen / Alumni dinners
b) Senior luau
c) Santa’s brunch
d) Easter egg hunt
e) Trick-or-treat
f) B-ball jam during homecoming
g) Community service projects
h) Marian College night at the ISO
i) Lugar Franciscan Center Global Studies - Alumni speaker

5) Alumni events

a) Indianapolis Indians baseball game
b) Football tailgating (four or five home games a year)
c) Reds/Cubs baseball game in Cincinnati
d) Cincinnati chapter events
e) Chicago chapter events
f) Washington, D.C. chapter events
g) Golf outings
h) Basketball game
i) All Alumni Weekend
j) Graduates of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D) events
k) Mini-marathon tent
l) Job skill series for alumni: preparing resume, interviewing, networking

6) Miscellaneous
a) Senior class yearbook
b) Final exam survival kits
c) Maintaining a list of campus events

Comments will be reviewed before they are posted. When commenting, please include your full name and the year you graduated. Inappropriate comments will NOT be posted. Again, I won't be adding to this blog as it goes forward. I will be reading the comments posted. I expect that blog will be up until mid-July. Again, please include your full name and the year you graduated.

To post your comment, click on the word "comments" highlighted in blue next just below this sentence. When you do that, all of the comments that have been posted thus far will be displayed. I encourage you to read them. Scroll down to the bottom until you find the "Post a Comment" box. Type your comments in the box. Thanks.


20 comments:

  1. Richard & Carolyn (Martin) Meisberger
    both graduates of the class of 1959
    celebrating out 50th reunion this year.

    I have been a teacher in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for 33 years, retiring this year.
    I feel more emphasis should be on recruiting students from our Catholic schools. I work with many Marian alums, yet I feel many of our students know little about their local Catholic college soon to become a university. We begin a graduation plan now in the 6th grade, which is for high school planning but ultimately the students future college years. Carolyn Meisberger

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many of the activities outlined for the Director of Alumni Affairs are theoretically good but vague to the point of "can't be measured". Alumni have a lot of experience to offer to Marian College students and to potential students at high schools. When I attended Marian College, I had no idea of what to do when I graduated and did not know what I could do with my degree in Mathematics. When job searching, I was offered a job to prepare to be an actuary at $50 per week. I didn't know what an actuary did and I told the interviewer that I earned $50 per week watching coke bottles at Coca Cola Bottling Co. - No job. I eventually entered the Air Force and finally found my "calling". The point is, Alumni can help students stear their careers by sharing experiences of what can be done, how to get it done, and what to do to prepare for it (whatever "it" may be). How to measure this activity - set a goal to get some number, say 100 alumni (I think it should be more), to volunteer to share their experiences, set up the meeting place, and get follow up feedback from the students. Footnote: in 1995 I was a Program Manager at Lockheed and member of the Board of Directors for the Superconducting Super Collider. I offered to speak to a meeting or a class at Marian College about the Super Collider, challanges and opportunities. I never received a call back from Marian.
    John Nonte '63

    ReplyDelete
  3. As someone in his 21st month as the Dean of Mathematics and Sciences, my *history* at Marian barely overlaps with only the most recent graduates. However, my VIEW is very long-term. In my position, not only would I welcome such a role for our alumni, I think it has the potential to be a very potent force for good in many ways. I welcome any and all alumni with any professional and/or intellectual connections to any areas of mathematics or sciences to contact me directly so we can construct just such a system.

    Loren A. Bertocci, PhD
    Dean of Mathematics and Sciences
    Marian University

    ReplyDelete
  4. Staci Striegel
    Class of 2008
    Currently in Erie, PA
    Degree: BA in Pastoral Leadership and Catholic Studies; minors in Psychology and Philosophy

    As a recent graduate, I have not had a lot of experience being involved as an alumnus. However, I would like to second the aforementioned suggestion of having some kind of concrete networking to help steer careers. Not only does the future of our world hold less traditional careers, but it also holds a lot of career changes. You hardly ever simply become a doctor or a nurse or a teacher anymore. Also, your twenties, and even thirties don't necessarilly mean you are going to be settling down. Transition and uncertainty in life, especially career, is a big part of the lives of our graduates. If Marian is the college that mentors, then it might be great to assign mentors to recent graduates with similar career possibilities. This might be done the easiest by categorizing by departments. This could be a project for the new person on board. There could also be more contact as the person is graduating on what it now means to be alumni. For instance, here are some materials on such and such that we offer, etc. Let us know what you are doing for class notes, etc. They might even organize a committee of graduates to help on different projects in order to have their "thumbprint" on those projects. There are so many things that can be happening! It might not hurt to also look at what other colleges and Universities are doing. Please let me know if I can be of any help.

    Pace e Bene,
    Staci Striegel

    ReplyDelete
  5. As Director of Internships and Career Services, I would like to see more collaboration between the Alumni office and our office. The way to achieve this connection could be to develop a database of alumni interested in helping students prepare for the world of work. The database would include alumni of all ages and academic majors who are willing to assist with
    mentoring, information interviews, networking and shadowing,etc.
    With greater collaboration we could also assist alumni with their career development issues as well.

    Barbara Benson, Director of Internships and Career Services

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am a 1989 graduate of Marian College and my oldest daughter will be a junior at Marian in the fall. I have been disappointed at some of the very NON-Catholic ideals that are being revealed in some of the classes my daughter has taken since starting at Marian two years ago. Some of what she is hearing in the classroom sounds more like a public state university than a PRIVATE CATHOLIC college. Parents who raise their children in a traditional Catholic home work very hard to do so in a world that is moving farther and farther away from a traditional Catholic view. I would hope that for this position and future faculty positions at the school they would stress to their applicants the importance of the schools Catholic NAME and foundation and that it should be reflected in the classroom by the faculty member regardless of their personal beliefs. Views they discuss outside the classroom are their own business, what they teach in the classroom is what our tuition dollars are paying for and should reflect the teachings of the Catholic church.
    Jeff Johns-Class of 1989-Cincinnati Ohio

    ReplyDelete
  7. A couple of things come to mind as I read this - most importantly - do you really want our input or do you want approval of what you have suggested? Whichever, I do like for the most part what was said here.

    One of my questions is in regards as to the heirarchy within Marian... why is the Alumni Director reporting to the marketing department? At the other colleges\universities that I attended -- the Alumni Director reported in to the Advancement Department and coordinate their activities with the Fundraising. why are we different? are we just another group to marketed to? do our opinions count?


    I feel that the Alumni need to be more involved instead of just getting asked for dollars. We get plenty of letters from the President - telling us what he has done for us - and asking us for money. How can we get involved? How can our opinions count?

    It seems that we have the same old events every year - can we have new activities? can we be involved with the students? how can we help create Marian to be the best? I loved Marian College and hope to help create Marian Unvirsity.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bridget (Stenger) Working '96June 8, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    I am pleased to see that Marian is taking advantage of the vacancy in this position to re-evaluate the purpose of Alumni Affairs at the University. The Director has a critical opportunity to make strategic decisions to ensure Marian’s sustainability for the future. The support of alumni is tantamount to elevate the status of a degree from Marian and align with its Franciscan roots. With that being said, I hope that the search to fill the Director position will focus primarily in on the skills and abilities needed to facilitate such strategic change, and secondarily on directing the operations of an office. If these talents are appropriately identified, prioritized, and sought out in candidates, the programmatic activities will fall into place under her/his leadership. Speaking from my perspective of a professional who has worked on several college campuses since graduating, I have found that true change can only be successful when this type of forward-looking lens is applied. I am hopeful that Marian will seize the chance to make such transformative change when selecting a new Director for Alumni Affairs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Marian College is very fortunate to have built an alumni association through the leadership of Ann Kreicker, Denise Brennan Feser and Maribeth Taylor Ransel. As one that has served in various volunteer capacities for Marian I have appreciated their dedication and work ethic. This office does not have a large budget and they have done wonders with the resources provided.
    As the chairperson of the board of trustees and as one of the capital campaign chairpersons I see that this might be a great opportunity to re-assess this position and office. This is not a reflection of the past leadership or their performance.

    The school and alumni are in a different place today. The alumni base has grown in numbers and in age. It is important to reach all segments of the alumni for the health of our institution.
    Also, the college is changing to a university again suggestion for me a great time for reassessment. Successful organizations often re-invent themselves for these very reasons.
    The following is offered as profile suggestions:
    1. With the opportunity to hire a new director, without added funding and a need to re-define/reassess I strongly encourage you to find someone outside of Marian.
    a. No organization continually hires within itself. Having a new voice with fresh ideas should aid in breaking paradigms and allow for a new beginning.
    b. With only one director and 8000 alums the Director could spend 24/7 on the telephone. They have to know going into the job how to deal with people, be succinct, be respectful and manage their time well especially when conducting business on the telephone.
    c. Seek a person with previous experience in this field.
    2. I agree that the classes should plan their own events. In fact one alum has prepared our last event. I believe that a menu of facilities/accommodations/costs etc. should be provided to the classes for their planning but allow them to plan the class events. Another quality-know how to delegate without being bossy.
    3. I would continue one traditional event. Either the Easter Egg Hunt or Christmas with Santa-this would be my one to save because of Christmas and the mansion's decorating. It would encourage young alums to return to campus.
    4. Cancel the Basketball Weekend or Alumni Weekend in January or something to that effect unless we can do Men and Women's basketball the same weekend. For obvious reasons.
    5. Homecoming Weekend needs to be centered around a football game. The June Alumni Weekend was started because we did not have a football program to draw alums back to campus. Now we have this opportunity and the school should seize the opportunity.
    6. The Alumni Director needs to understand her/his role in the big scheme of fund raising. They may not be the person that makes the ask but they should be knowledgeable or gain the knowledge on where the "real money" is through the events offered by the association. The work of the Development Office and the Alumni Office should compliment each other.
    7. The Alumni Office needs to work with the out of state chapters and cultivate their leadership. Don't expect a lot or spend a great deal of time from this effort but understand some on-going missionary work is needed.
    8. Benchmark other well run alumni organizations and determine what has made them successful. Are there "lessons to be learned"?
    Tony Watt 1969

    ReplyDelete
  10. Susan Knueven Wong, Class of '73
    The alumni magazine format that has been used for the last three years or so is so effective. It is very readable and engages the alumni to peruse all of the pages.
    Ideas that I see listed that look good:
    a) etiquette dinners (prepares students for dinner interviews for jobs -- alumni with seniors) and mock interviews. Great ideas for alumni who participate in this type of formal event.
    b) My children have fond memories of the Santa brunch -- please continue. It also keeps young alumni in touch with Marian. It was my own first connection with Marian after graduation.
    c) Enthusiastic basketball homecoming events for alumni.
    c) Indianapolis Indian games -- have classes get their own group together for a picnic.
    d) All Alumni Weekend (Sadly, we always miss the June dates because we are on vacation.)
    e) Alumni speakers -- great events.
    f) Graduates calling fellow graduates for special commemorative alumni weekends.
    g) What about having students on scholarship at Marian calling graduates for donations for more scholarships or donations? Other universities do it.
    We will miss Ann -- she was great!

    ReplyDelete
  11. #2, #2, & #6 don't seem to be alumni oriented. I would drop those from the list other than working with other departments to put alums in touch to work on those things.

    More importantly than the list of activities, focus on your overall goal. If you can reach 1000 alums and get them engaged, they will dictate the activities that make for a meaningful experience for them.

    Having passionate graduates is the key. Find someone who is passionate about the mission of the college, and let the activities flow from there. I think having an alum in the position is going to be very impactful.

    Kevin M. Hill
    Marian College '93

    ReplyDelete
  12. As someone was extremely involved on campus, a fairly recent graduate ('06) and someone working in the field of Higher Education and Student Affairs, I believe I can offer a couple unique perspectives. I truly enjoyed my experience at Marian and credit it with where I am in my life. I think from all of my experiences, Tony is right on Target.
    #1. The person needs to be outside of Marian. In order for Marian to continue to grow and develop, someone from outside of Marian needs to come and see it for what it could be, not what it was when they attended.
    #2. The person needs to be someone with extensive Alumni Relations background or experience, possibly a seasoned professional. In order to continue growing, they need to know what we should do and what we shouldnt do. That may mean investing more resources and money to get someone, ie.. increasing salary and compensation. Also, a seasoned professionl will know how to help tie all of what everyone has mentioned together. THey will know how to keep large donor close and young alumni tied. They will also know how to bring key staff and alums into the fold to help.
    #3. The person should know how to tie the chapters together and create new chapters. If the chapters are going to be repsonsible for coordinating their own events, they need some resources to do so.
    #4. They need to promote our traditions that we do have and help create more. I was very active in the Marian College Student Association and was very dissapointed that we dont keep track of our past officers or history. This position should be working with advancement to connect to these former student leaders and organizing gatherings and commorations to bring them back to campus. Reunions should be coordinated by the class president or another class member, with the assistance of this person.
    #5. I whole heartedly agree that if we now have a football team, homecomings should center around them and they should be outstanding and done up. This is the opportunity for alumni to come back and relive their college days and talk about the changes of today. More work could be done with student activities and campus events to make this a truly magnificant event/week. While the mansion parties are nice, more could be done. Also, if you want to increase the connection between students and alumni, this is the weekend to do it!
    #6. I think that its the office of career services job/responsiblity to connect students to potential internship providers, etiqutte dinners, etc.. not the role of alumni director. The director can forward names, but that is not their role. I also dont know if the Silver Knights located in Alumni is the best place, but that is for another day.

    Finally, I would like this person to remember that even though Marian is growing and becoming a great Catholic University, that not everyone that attends there is Catholic, and for good reason. The dialogue needs to exist between all types of people about all different types of things and sweeping them under the rug and pretending they dont exist does not help or grow our students. Remembering the 4 Franciscan values arent just applied to those who are like us, but to everyone. While we need to reach out to the catholic community and schools, closing off to the public, non-catholics, and public school, and not having those open and thought provoking converstaions in and out of the class room is going to send back the 10 years of progress we just made.

    GO KNIGHTS!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is the beginning of a new era for Marian - becoming a University is a huge accomplishment. But, it can't stop there. The momentum has to continue and it is up to us, the alumni, to make that happen.

    The Office of Alumni Affairs is a vital cog in the continuing success of Marian as an institution. As we look forward, the Alumni role is the life blood to getting students to attend Marian, engaging students when they are at Marian and keeping them involved as Alumni to continue our tradition.

    To me, it's not so much the events that we can hold to draw alumni back to Marian. It's more we don't want them to "disconnect" as they leave so that we have to draw them back. Keep in Touch!

    Most of us who attended Marian,if not all of us, were "helped" by some kind of financial aid given to us by Marian and/or its past Alumni. Are we not obligated then to give back in gratitude; whether it be finanacially; by "advertising" the Marian spirit with future students; or supporting the activities of the Alumni Office?

    It's important for this Alumni position to make the "connection" and "Keep in Touch". It's not important, it's crucial for Marian University!

    Dean (Haklin) Padgett (1975)
    Steve Padgett (1974)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kelley Griffith ‘08
    In the past I served on the National Board and have been a very active volunteer. I have also partnered with the Alumni Office as Director of the Library. Alumni Affairs needs to re-connect both on and off campus. I believe an environmental survey is the right place to start. Survey existing programs and determine best practices. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Get alumni involved don’t shut them out. Let the alumni develop and support their own events. I have never been turned down by a Marian graduate when seeking speakers or event leaders. Marian graduates gained so much from their experiences and I find most want to give back in volunteer hours/services. I firmly believe the next Alumni Director should be an outside person with proven success working in the area of Alumni Affairs.


    #1 Alumni events – Reassess and determine if the return for investment supports continued support. For example, All Alumni weekend was launched because Homecoming attendance was not high. Implement new programs. Tradition is important but program offerings can support Alumni traditions while offering new and dynamic programs/events. Seek collaboration across campus from departments interested in partnerships. Speakers series, career series…



    #2 Alumni / student events – Through the years Marian has initiated and subsequently stopped supporting many of its traditions. These shared experiences are the ties that keep Alumni connected. Assess the efficacy of the programs but be sensitive to the need for tradition.

    a) Freshmen / Alumni dinners – Keep
    b) Senior luau - Keep
    c) Santa’s brunch - Keep
    d) Easter egg hunt
    e) Trick-or-treat – Keep
    f) B-ball jam during homecoming - Keep
    g) Community service projects - Keep
    h) Marian College night at the ISO
    i) Lugar Franciscan Center Global Studies - Alumni speaker

    #3Fundraising – I believe this is an important component but can current staffing support fundraising? Building a network of alumni donors seems to go hand in hand with sponsored events. I don’t believe we should shy away from including fundraising challenges with the events themselves.

    a) Building a network of alumni donors
    b) Promoting class scholarships

    #4 Recruiting students – Encourage alumni to sponsor information booths at community events. Get the alumni involved in recruitment. The Marian apparel is pretty boring. I realize the management of the bookstore has changed but offer more interesting designs that capture the spirit of Marian.

    a) Helping to build relationships with feeder schools
    b) Helping to build relationships with parishes
    c) Helping to recruit from specific geographic areas
    d) Helping to recruit for specific academic majors, e.g., accounting



    #5 Miscellaneous Aramark offers final exam survival kits. Pass this information on to parents. Take advantage of new services on campus rather than competing with those services. Many departments sponsor Final Exam breaks across campus work in partnership with those areas. The class yearbook is important but shouldn’t it be the responsibility of student services or an academic area?



    #6 Helping students succeed – Many of these programs should fall under the management of the Career Services/Student Services departments with collaboration from the Alumni Affairs area.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Denise Morrow-Class of 1998 BA Elementary Education

    I believe the role of alumni affairs should be run by a person with experience working with the community and a alumni who knows the history of the campus and can target ways of improvement based on their experiences. I think it is a good idea to have alumni in different job fields mentor graduates because I think the graduate needs to feel a connection with someone who has accomplished what they are trying to accomplish it would help their transition to the work force. I think the alumni affairs should think of ways to connect commuters with campus life maybe having an event during the school day . When I was a freshman there were all kinds of activities I would participate in but when I got a part time job I lost the connection to campus life. Marian needs to make sure they are visible in the local parishes, high schools and middle schools. Promote more class tours. I really like the idea of the mock interviews to get students prepared for the work force.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Chuck Traylor 1975 BA Business AdministrationJune 18, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    As a 1975 graduate of Marian I would like to applaud the University on its growth and vision under the current administration. To see where Marian has come and where it is going is very exciting for the Alumni.

    The current “outline” of duties seems very broad based and somewhat outdated. I would believe that the first initiative should be to assess and redefine the priorities of this position.

    Let’s look at the position based on the current goals of the University.
    1) Marian “the college / university that mentors” – if indeed this is to be the philosophy, what better place to cultivate “mentors” than your alumni.
    2) Emphasis on Catholic / Franciscan values – this is an area that took me many years in the business world to truly develop. Encourage the alumni base to share their faith based development in their profession with the student body and staff at Marian.
    3) Fundraising – is this truly an alumni office function or is this an area of shared responsibility?
    4) Student / Alumni relationships – interaction between students and alumni create exciting situations for Marian graduates (graduates who feel they have been helped by alumni and the university become positive forces in the next generation of alumni). The alumni office should work closely with the Director of Internship and Careers and the various Deans to utilize alumni to develop a network that would benefit Marian.
    5) Recruiting students – naturally alumni should be utilized to assist in recruiting students to Marian. This should be achieved by an interaction and communication between the Alumni office and the Admissions department.
    6) Getting alumni on campus to see the “new” Marian University – the growth has been astounding and seeing what Marian has become is exciting for an alum of my age. Indeed Marian has come a long way since 1975. Had it not been for my son attending Marian and graduating in 1975 certainly I would not have been nearly as aware of the changes that have taken place at Marian.

    In summary:
    I believe it is critical that the position be better defined and that methods of determining accountability need to be established.

    Communication (both internal & external) needs to be enhanced. No alumni that offer should ever be turned down (ok within reason and Catholic / Franciscan values). It is critical that Marian develop a positive relationship between alums, faculty, staff and the student body – this relationship will promote a healthy fundraising environment along with a great source of mentors, internships and employers.

    Work diligently to get alumni back on campus to see what Marian has become and pursue those alumni with great vigor. The product will sell itself, we must simply communicate and pursue.

    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute.

    ReplyDelete
  17. One vision and/or framework for considering the Alumni Association is all about developing a relationship between the institution and the alumni. It should be a mutually benefitcial relationship with each party contributing its unique resources to the continued growth and development of each other and the relationship.

    The relationship needs to evolve over the years as each alumnus/a develops and moves through various growth and/or life stages. Too often the relationship with an alumni assocation is either one sided or in not continuous in nature. The new Marian Univeristy Alumni Association should focus on establishing an on-going, vibrant relationship that entices both parties to want to continue the relationship.

    The resources of the University should be used to not only educate the current student body but to continue to educate and support the alumni. This might involve a continuing education series, special lectures featuring faculty, or offering events to develop a stronger Catholic faith. The focus should be placed on developing a relationship between the school, the alumni, and his/her family. In addition, the resources of the school should be available to alumni to support the growth and development of the individual as he/she moves through life stages.

    If the relationship is established and nutured by the University, the alumni will be more inclined to continue the relationship by offering time, talent, or treasure to foster and continue to support various institutional initiatives. Alumni support will evolve as the alumni cohorts move through various life stages. While young alumni are more able to support the school using time and professional talent, older alumni are more likely to provide tlaent and economic resources to the school to advance the relationship and initiatives.

    The Alumni Director is key to advancing these relationships and initiatives. Too often school-alumni relationships are not based on a relationship development model. Too often each party expects too much out of the other and the relationship withers and dies. Too often the alumni association is known only for asking for money. The role of the Alumni Director is to ensure that this does not occur by developing and directing a program that has the best interests of the University and its alumni at heart.

    Development of the Marian University Alumni Association will need to be based upon a combination of the historical foundation that has been established and a newly tooled course of events that appeal to those alumni who do not support the current calendar of events or approach. The Marian University Alumni Association must find ways to operate within a relationship development model. A dynamic Assocation will require the University to invest time and resources to initiate the relationship with older alumni. However, there is a significant opportunity to establish, expand, and develop a relationship with alumni that will foster a mutually benefitcial relationship that will make other institutions envious.

    Chris Everett
    Class of '73

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think creating a solid network of alumni and other community support to help Marian graduates find fulfilling careers should be the highest priority. Especially in our difficult economic times, having the support of a group of successful people would be of tremendous value to those getting degrees from Marian. We need to use our small, family-like community of alumni to our advantage and help those that follow our path. I think we should look into forming partnerships with groups like the IEDC, Smaller Indiana, and others that promote business growth and networking, particularly in the state of Indiana.

    In addition to that, fundraising and alumni events are also important. Fundraising, certainly is critical in helping Marian do the things it needs to do to continue to grow while alumni events help bolster our already strong community of graduates.

    Justin Werkley
    Class of '02

    ReplyDelete
  19. First, my compliments to those who have placed entries on this blog. There are many good thoughts from which Bob can work. Much of what I have echoes the comments of Chris Everett.
    - Engaging alumni – identifying and meeting some of their needs/wants, and involving them with current students and building success
    - Educating alumni about the vision for Marian University and the resources of the university
    - Encouraging alumni to help the school continue to deliver on the vision and
    being a difference maker in the community
    If the alumni office is the connector between the university and graduates, as we maintain the strength of that connection it will allow the fundraising and student development goals mentioned in 1 and 2 of Bob’s list to occur.

    Activities in item 3 can be used not only to help students succeed, but expanded to service alumni. This set of activities I think is top priority. It will foster engagement. The social activities in the latter categories provide a nice social fabric, but I agree should be done with more leadership from the alumni themselves, rather than counting on the alumni office to organize.

    The director’s first job will be to sort through the maze of activity and focus the direction.
    The right person for this job is someone who has clearly demonstrated the ability to enhance the relationship between its members and the organization, in this case specifically a university and alums. There have been several comments about whether that should be a graduate of the school. Whether or not the person is a graduate of Marian to me is neither a qualifying or a disqualifying factor.
    If a previous connection inhibits the individual’s ability to accomplish the key elements of the job and diminishes his/her ability to embrace the vision, then it is a detriment. On the other hand, if the right candidate happens to be a Marian grad, I would hope we would not exclude on that factor alone.

    John Purcell, '74

    ReplyDelete
  20. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my thoughts.

    An effective alumni director needs a very broad range of skills - communication, organization, leadership, analytical skills, tenacity, negotiation, passion, intuition, etc. At the top of the list is the ability to reach out and connect with people: from parents of the 18 year old freshman, to the current students (of all ages), to the alumni parents sending their children to Marian, to the first male graduates to the women who are the first alumae. From the moment a student enrolls, s/he should feel connected to the institution and the alumni office plays a significant role in making and keeping that tie strong for the long run.

    The alumni director needs to report to someone and a case can be made for marketing or development. However, it seems that the decision should not be driven by an org chart but rather by a critical question - how and where do the functions and responsibilities fit in advancing the university's strategic plan? Effective strategic plans are living documents that are never "finished" so regular tweaks to the plan are inherent.

    As Tony pointed out, the school and alumni are in a different place today than they were eight years ago. It seems appropriate to assess what the university's needs are and define the alumni office's goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics to support those needs. And hire the person that can accomplish these.
    Denise Brennan Feser'77

    ReplyDelete