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Kalamazoo College
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Director's Notes

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from Joan Hawxhurst

The Critical Work of Our Alumni Board

April 28, 2016 at 9:28 am
By Joan Hawxhurst

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the spring meeting of Kalamazoo College’s Alumni Association Executive Board.  The Alumni Association includes all 20,000 living alumni of the College, and it exists to promote and maintain a lifelong, active relationship between the College and alumni, and to involve K alumni in meaningful volunteer efforts on behalf of the College. The Alumni Association is governed by an Executive Board that meets on campus twice a year, comprised of twenty dedicated alumni representatives who are enthusiastic in their commitment to supporting the College’s admissions, advancement, and career development efforts.

The CCPD is grateful to partner with the AAEB to host Connection Receptions twice each year, aligning with the AAEB’s on-campus meetings: one as part of the Professional Development Institute at Homecoming in October, and a second specifically for seniors on Founder’s Day in April. These receptions offer students and alumni opportunities to listen and learn from others’ work experiences and to launch meaningful mentoring relationships within the worldwide network of Hornet professionals.  At the Senior Connection Reception this past Friday, incoming AAEB president Erin Mazzoni ’07 welcomed the Class of 2016 to the Alumni Association and encouraged seniors to take advantage of generous alumni interest in supporting students’ career exploration and development. Senior Brandon Siedlaczek, one of four students on this year’s “K to the Bay” career trek, spoke about the value of alumni connections in jumpstarting the professional networks of young graduates. When the formal remarks concluded, guests returned to the main work of the event—conversations sharing interests, career information, connections and advice for seniors about to launch their “Lives after K.”

In addition to cohosting Friday’s valuable networking opportunity, the AAEB also had coffee with Senior Class Agents, signed hundreds of thank-you notes, received an update from President Wilson-Oyelaran, shared breakfast with some of the President’s Student Ambassadors, and was introduced to incoming College president Jorge Gonzalez and his partner, Suzie Gonzalez ’82. The board honed its strategy for hosting class reunions at Homecoming 2016, and it made decisions about the 2016 alumni awards.  During one AAEB plenary session, the CCPD’s assistant director for external relations, Valerie Miller, joined associate director of development Ryan Jordan to present a summary of the recent “K to the Big Apple” career trek.

This hard-working board accomplishes tasks via committees focused on philanthropy, communication, and professional networking. I sat in on the professional networking committee’s session, which focused on how we might leverage technology to enhance meaningful professional connections between alumni and students and among alumni. If this committee’s next efforts are as effective as its recent work to enhance and update the online alumni directory, we are in for some exciting opportunities!

The College’s alumni are one of its most valuable resources, and being part of last weekend’s AAEB meeting made it clear that K’s alumni resources are being stewarded by a very capable, committed group of alumni volunteers. I hope you’ll join me in appreciating the work of our alumni board.