Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Alumnae to reunite

Guest blog by Julia Szabo, director of alumni relations and annual giving

Homecoming is less than three days away!

As an alumni program planner, this means I get to create opportunities throughout the weekend for alumni to come back to campus and reconnect with their friends, classmates, former professors, coaches and current students. For many years, we’ve had the traditional football alumni breakfast, and we will continue this tradition this weekend and for as long as those guys want it.

But when I discovered that there are more than 1,200 alumnae (a group of female graduates or former students) living within 20 miles of Bluffton, it struck me that I need to create more alumni events geared toward women! For help with the what, when and how….I asked the five members of the Women’s Council for assistance.

They suggested we host a breakfast for alumnae at the same time as the traditional Homecoming football alumni breakfast. This will be an opportunity for Bluffton alumnae of all ages to reminisce about campus life - from a female perspective - and to share stories of their post-graduation lives and careers. To get the memories primed at the Homecoming breakfast, I’ve invited five past Bluffton Homecoming queens to share some anecdotes from their coronations.

If you don’t already know about the Bluffton University Women’s Council, it has been around for decades, quietly helping at alumni events and assisting students and academic programs in various ways….for example, purchasing a much-needed sewing machine for the theater department.

Last year, when some female undergraduate students wanted to attend the 19th annual Dynamic Women in Business conference at Harvard University, the Women’s Council provided those students with funding to help cover travel expenses and registration fees. Thus, the Bluffton Women’s Council “Professional Enrichment Grant” was born!

Now, each year alumnae have an opportunity – by donating to the Women’s Council – to assist 4-5 students each year with costs related to attending a professional conference in their major area of study. What a great legacy…Bluffton alumnae helping Bluffton female students get a head start on their professional careers!

So, help us get a new Bluffton tradition started this Homecoming….come to the women’s breakfast, and consider a contribution to the Women’s Council to encourage those future female professionals from Bluffton University!

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