(Re-)Introducing Your Alumni Council
Leading an organization dedicated to professional and personal networking, community service, and student success is no small feat, but Widener’s Alumni Council does all this and more for the 60,000+ members of the Alumni Association.
Every alum and student who has completed at least two semesters of study from Pennsylvania Military College, Penn Morton College, Widener College, Brandywine College, or Widener University is automatically a member of the association.
“The mission of the Alumni Association is to provide valuable programs, experiences, and services for our alumni community, connect alumni to one another, our students, faculty, and staff, and partner with alumni to enhance student success,” said Executive Director of Alumni Engagement Jessica Lista. “The dedicated volunteer leaders on the Alumni Council guide this effort and serve as a voice for all Widener graduates. We are excited for what’s ahead as they work to turn alumni pride into impact!”
The Alumni Council has been directing the impact of Widener alumni for years, but the pandemic proved the ideal time for the group to reflect on their objectives and tactics.
“We aim to represent our alumni community and create meaningful impact. It’s important to clarify who we are, what we want to work toward, and how to maintain accountability in the process,” Council Chair Anna Shermeyer ’12, MBA ’14 said. “The pandemic became the ideal time for us to step back and think about how we create a foundation that will propel the work of this council and the association moving forward.”
After honing their strategic themes and objectives, crafting a brand identity, and tweaking bylaws, the council is ready to re-introduce itself to the Widener community.
Cultivation and Connection
A major priority for the 11 members of the current council is growing and diversifying their membership. Associate Vice Chair Sharon Carothers '92, who leads the council's membership efforts, notes this expansion ensures the council “prioritizes action on things that make the most sense to Widener alums.”
“We’re charting a course that needs to be deployed by a body of folks that look and feel representative of us as an alumni body,” Carothers said. “We want to reflect the current profile of academic, demographic, and geographic backgrounds that make us all Widener.”
As the council grows, they also hope to enhance communication throughout Widener’s extensive alumni network. Many alums are involved with affinity groups through an academic department or athletic team, Shermeyer noted, and supporting those groups through the hub of the Alumni Association could enrich opportunities for everyone. She also hopes that regional network groups can be better supported in this way too.
To connect more alums to each other and to current students, the council is preparing service projects and celebrations on-campus and beyond.
This spring the Council has two opportunities for all alumni to reconnect with Widener. During Inauguration Week (April 10-13) the Council will host the Alumni Awards program. By recognizing outstanding alumni achievements, and celebrating the impact Widener alumni are having on our community and campus, we hope to instill Pride among all alumni. That week the Council will also encourage alumni to participate in a service activity in the name of Widener. Alumni can participate on campus or wherever alumni live or work.
Calling All Alumni
When Carothers looks to the future, she hopes more alumni understand the scope and functions of the Alumni Council and realize they have an active voice in the future of Widener.
“People get busy and go through various phases of engagement after graduating, but we want alums to know there are people and programs you can access at any time. You never really leave Widener,” Carothers added.
For all the behind-the-scenes work Shermeyer, Carothers, and the rest of the council have been doing, they’re most looking forward to talking with more alums this year and learning about the best ways to bring value to their personal and professional lives.
“Whether that’s volunteer or philanthropic opportunities, alumni networking or student success initiatives, we want to help facilitate the meaningful experiences that alumni are looking for,” Shermeyer concluded.
“Widener encourages students regardless of their degree to be active citizens of their communities, and if we can help alumni extend that Widener Pride in a robust, engaged way, we’ve succeeded.”
Whether you’ve just graduated, are a proud PMC alum, or exist somewhere else in the Widener alumni world, you’ll want to stay tuned to the Alumni Council and the exciting changes to come.
Interested in serving on the Alumni Council? Please visit the Alumni Council webpage or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. For more information on the Alumni Association, including ways to get involved, upcoming events, and how to submit nominations for alumni awards visit alumni.widener.edu/.