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Articles: Alumni Relations

It was Capital University against Wittenberg University, neighboring Ohio schools. Purple against red. Crusaders against Tigers.

In spring 2014, officials at each of the institutions engaged with young alumni through the Gold Cup Challenge. And when the competition ended in June, Capital won bragging rights, with 2,037 points—one for each new young alumni donor compared to the previous fiscal year.

Here's how colleges and universities are using social media to connect with alumni.

If you build it, they will come. Your alumni are already Facebooking, tweeting and linking in, in ever-increasing numbers. Colleges and universities are taking advantage of this activity to launch and grow robust social networks of graduates that strengthen alumni engagement, boost volunteerism and stimulate giving.

HR expert Carol Patton says alumni have value to HR as recruiters and university advocates.

In the midst of shrinking budgets and staff, HR professionals at colleges and universities can take advantage of an often overlooked resource to help accomplish their goals.

Consider working with alumni—they typically possess a wealth of campus knowledge and skills. And they’re often eager to assist human resources in many areas, ranging from recruitment to employee coaching.

Higher ed has a new recruitment tool available with LinkedIn’s University Pages, which not only promote a school, but add a powerful networking platform for current and future alumni.

“A LinkedIn University Page includes all the things that touch a university in one space,” says John Hill, LinkedIn’s higher education evangelist. “It’s rich media, so it can have videos, imagery, blog posts, and so on.”

Students at Savannah College of Art and Design have a variety of dining styles and locations to choose from across campus.

Only one-third of 3,400 U.S. college students say they’re satisfied with their meal plans, found a survey by food industry research firm Technomic. But schools are finding that to address the problem, they need to go beyond simply improving what winds up on diners’ plates.

The idea was simple: Let online donors make multiple gifts with a single checkout. Not long after Randy Brown joined the Michigan State University advancement team as webmaster in 1999, he got assigned this task, which was anything but simple to execute.

“That was sort of his night job,” says Bob Thomas, assistant vice president for advancement marketing and communications. “It was kind of a running joke. We’d talk about it at annual planning meetings.” One year, someone even presented a mini shopping cart at the meeting to Brown as a tangible reminder.

Teresa A. Sullivan, forced to resign as president from U.Va. on June 10, was reinstated June 26.

In the two weeks between University of Virginia board members controversially asking Teresa A. Sullivan to resign her position of president on June 10 and her reinstatement on June 26, the university faced donors pulling out and an outpouring of public support for Sullivan.

Sullivan, who began her term on Aug. 1, 2010 after she was unanimously elected by the Board of Visitors in January of that year, was fired on June 10 for reasons that have largely not been made public.

An Atlas of Giving report reveals that the education sector was the strongest for charitable giving in 2011. The sector received $54.30 billion in 2011, an increase of 9.8 percent over 2010 when donors gave $49.44 billion. Education still falls in second place to religious charities, with education accounting for 16 percent of total giving in 2011 and religion at 36 percent.

Jobs aren’t easy to come by these days. Instead of blaming the economy—or themselves—some students are blaming their alma maters.

After graduates from New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley School of Law (Mich.) accused the schools of misinterpreting graduates’ employment and salary statistics and filed class action suits against them last summer, two firms have warned they are planning to go after other law schools this year.

Jordan Zimmerman

Once a school like Penn State or Syracuse has gone through the ethical and public relations disaster of a child sexual abuse scandal ... what comes next? How do you fix what’s broken? Can you even think about rebuilding the brand?

Yes ... but it’s tough. It takes character, both for the organization and on a personal level.

Emerging from this kind of crisis means going through three different stages: denial, damage control, and decision. Lots of people, and lots of institutions, never make it through to that third stage.

Growing numbers of students came to campus this fall, as they have for over half a century. The beginning of school year ritual seems to go on forever, but for the first time, there are signs that, in its present form, it won’t. And it is the oft-ignored college town outside the campus that will be most affected.


American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.

Overlooking the Hudson River, this tech center helps orient the Marist College (N.Y.) campus to the river and will help enforce the role of technology across disciplines.

Just back from campus info visits, with children having us in tow, we gained a fresh perspective on what today's aspiring college students like best to learn, where they want to live, and how they want to engage in the global higher learning experience. What we learned from the campus tours during spring break is that the fastest growing student co-curricular interests include Model UN debates, semester and summer study abroad programs, and international field practicums in the rain forest and the arctic, and exposure -- indeed, immersion in foreign languages and cultures.

Transfer used to be what happened when students realized too late that they picked a college or university that wasn't right for them. It wasn't until recently that the valuable market of transfer students has started being studied and really tapped into.

"For a while, transfers were kind of looked at as extra," says Bonita C. Jacobs, executive director of The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Texas. Admissions offices began realizing they'd be left behind if they didn't start recruiting transfers.

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