The end of the year is a great time for alumni to reconnect with the university, not only to see what changes have been made, but to see what is still thriving. In addition, graduating seniors often look to alumni for tips and tricks on how to conduct themselves after graduation. Edge Magazine had a chance to catch up with Erin Sekerak, Associate Director for the Offices of Alumni Services about the Alumni/Senior Social being held next month. This is the third year this event has been put together.
Q: How important is it to keep alumni connected to the university?
A: Gannon University alumni are our greatest assets. When alumni are engaged it enriches their lives, which in turn enriches the livelihood of Gannon. By keeping alumni connected to the University, we foster a lifelong relationship with them. When alumni give back using their time, treasure and talents it promotes themselves as well as promotes the status of the University. Time – Their expertise and perspectives are critical to the continued success of Gannon through their leadership on the Board of Trustees, National Alumni Board and in a variety of other advisory roles. And volunteering at events such as GIVE Day. Treasure – Each dollar given by an alum to the University produces scholarships to our students, funding building projects, supporting specific academic and co-curricular programs and technology that enhances the learning environment. Talent – We ask several alumni every year to promote their knowledge and experiences to the university community through lectures and workshops. The success stories of our alumni inspire prospective students to make Gannon their choice too. Great alumni contribute to great Universities!
Q: What is your hand in the event, and how did you come to fill that role?
A: As the Associate Director in the Alumni Services Office I value the opportunity to connect alumni with our students. For this event I advise the senior class reps within SGA every year on coordinating the logistics of the event. While the students are marketing the event to seniors I am in turn marketing the value of the program to alumni locally and to alumni based in our more populated regions. These are the regions our graduates are most likely to gravitate to for careers. The goal is to give our graduates the opportunity to learn about what it is like to live in these areas and to offer alumni support once they do move. The concept was inspired from when I worked at the University of Notre Dame. The senior class would hold a cocktail
reception with this very same idea. Although they have been doing it for years, it has become an event alumni from all corners return for. I would like to eventually build it up to that level.
Q: Finally, if you could one piece of advice to someone looking to attend the event, what would it be?
A: This is written in the Gannon Knight Article about the Social,
“The best career advice I can give anyone is to be social, be out there and be active within the community. You never know if the guy standing in the heavy hors d’oeuvres line with you, who is also reaching for the last shrimp cocktail, is the key to helping you advance to a brighter future. There is no need to be afraid of walking through that door at graduation because this event, coupled with your amazing Gannon education, will equip you with the skills you need to walk out ready.”
As far as to encourage them to attend the event, I would advise them to RSVP by March 18 to Taylor Shaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org but walk-ins are certainly welcome. Then come to the event dressed professionally, and with questions to ask alumni about their career paths and their region. I would also note that there is no need to be intimidated by the alumni attending. All of the alumni who will be present are approachable, friendly, and are eager to share their wealth of knowledge and ready to make great connections with our graduates.