I'm director of alumni affairs at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The position
isn't a new one, but is now half an alumni association position and half
a UI position. I've been on the job since July 22.
I have worked in higher education for 13 years. The first eight years,
1983 through 1991, were spent at the University of Southern Mississippi,
where I served as an admissions recruiter intern, admission counselor, student
alumni adviser, legislative assistant and assistant to the director of alumni
affairs. The next five years, 1991 through 1996, were spent at the University
of Kansas Alumni Association. I served as the membership director, and in
1993 was named senior vice president for external affairs and membership
development. Educationally, I received an A.T. degree in data processing
from Jones County Community College (Ellisville, Miss.) in 1983, a B.S.
in computer science from USM in 1986, and a masters in higher education
administration from KU (Lawrence) in 1995.
I view my role as a major player in advancement initiatives for the UI.
Advancement is a term that best describes what my work and that of others
should do for an institution. I work very closely with Lou Liay, executive
director of the Alumni Association, the board of directors and staff of
the association, the chancellor, and yes, alumni, students, and all other
interested friends of UI. I view my job as helping alumni, students and
the campus community understand and utilize the services of the Alumni Association:
alumni records, event- planning expertise, and the networking capabilities
to reconnect alumni with each other and UI. Mainly, we want alumni and students
to be UI ambassadors and supporters whereever they root themselves in the
future and support this institution with their time, voice, talents, influence,
and yes, their surplus money. Also, I will be at work forming partnerships
with staffs of the UI Foundation and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics,
campus deans, directors and faculty and staff members to better carry out
our goals and other mutual interests.
At this point, I sense it will be setting aside time to evaluate the
current programs, services and operations of the association while forging
campus relationships where we may have once thought no interest existed
and enhancing existing alliances. A greater sense of community and support
must be forged.
To assist the UI in understanding that our greatest pocket of alumni
for future institutional support, volunteers and advocates are our current
students. Therefore, we must allow advancement officials and programs to
reach students while they are on campus and not wait until they graduate.
Secondly, to better coordinate our use of alumni as volunteers and attract
underrepresented groups into serving the association and UI and their own
In this day and age of higher education scrutiny, we cannot accept the
status quo in any of our programs and endeavors. We must work together as
a team and not as units with competing or secret agendas. We must collectively
advance the UI mission as we carry out our jobs. Therefore, I hope I can
offer UI the professional skills and knowledge to better our advancement
initiatives without sacrificing our individual unit identities that have
so soundly served the UI in the past.
-- Nancy Koeneman