In the words of singer/songwriter, Jackson Browne, this is my opening farewell.
In April 2001, when Joe Darling, who was vice president of Institutional Advancement at the time, hired me as director of Alumni Services, he expected me to take the UCA Alumni Association to the next level. Nearly 14 years later and with numerous challenges along the way, I can honestly say that the UCA Alumni Association has moved well beyond just the next level.
There have been a number of successes through the years but here are a few highlights:
The UCAAA Life member program, established in 2002, continues to grow, providing long-term financial security for the alumni association.
The Association of Future Alumni, introduced in 2003, is an energetic and vibrant student alumni program and one of the most prestigious student organizations on campus.
The association celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2011 and successfully completed its first fundraising campaign, raising over $100,000 and fully endowing all alumni association scholarships, therefore increasing the number of scholarships awarded to UCA students.
The Legacy Walk has become a focal point on campus and the cornerstone of tradition for UCA graduates.
Events, such as Freshmen Welcome Lunch, tailgate parties, receptions, professional development workshops and a variety of events throughout homecoming week continue to keep alumni and friends of UCA connected and involved.
And the most evident change in the UCA Alumni Association is its financial growth. Funding for endowments, restricted funds and operating accounts have nearly tripled since June 2001, providing for the expansion of events, programs and services to alumni and students.
Now we are winding down the Alumni Association’s first comprehensive membership campaign, Bear Your Stripes, and at its completion we expect to add it to our list of successes.
During these years, I have been blessed to work with some very special people who have been and will continue to be dedicated to this university, its students and alumni. They believe in doing the right things, the right way and for the right reasons. I will be forever grateful for the encouragement we’ve shared through the years and the friendships that developed. We should always strive to leave any situation, thing or place better than it was when we arrived, and I hope my service has been a demonstration of that intent.
I leave you with this. University presidents, administrators and alumni directors will come and go, but you will always be an alumnus of UCA so embrace it, protect it and support your alma mater.