Beyond the Limestone Walls: Increasing Our Impact

Michael Donnelly

I open this column by posing a question: What have you done in the past few months to increase your Dickinson impact? The notion of being an active alum, an advocate for our alma mater, a Devils’ Advocate, literally, is really at the center of my work as the Alumni Council president. To that end, I will continue with the theme of increasing our impact for my tenure, as I will do my best to find ways to share out with you multiple opportunities for engagement and to share in with the staff in the Office of College Advancement the awesome stories that I hear from you.

Since the publication of the summer issue of the magazine, I have had the pleasure of hearing some of those stories from several alumni, from rekindling a friendship with a fellow graduate to encouraging another alumna to serve on a reunion committee.

And let me share my own story from this summer. While chaperoning an exchange program to Germany with 16 high-school students from my district, I experienced a small-world moment atop an observation tower in Reykjavik, Iceland. The chilly weather necessitated a sweatshirt, and of course my trusty red Dickinson sweatshirt travels with me to keep me warm. As I made my way from one side of the observation deck to the other, I was approached by a very nice woman who asked if the Dickinson on my sweatshirt was “the Dickinson” in Carlisle. As it turns out, not only does she live a few minutes down the street from the high school in my district, her cousin is a fellow Dickinsonian.

There have been a number of impact opportunities throughout the past few months—ranging from receptions and regional events to the annual Career Conference and Volunteer Leadership Summit. I trust that everyone who participated felt that his or her time was valued. Imagine the impact we would have if every Dickinson alum were to attend just one event each year. Not only would we show our camaraderie as alumni, but we would also serve as ambassadors for the college and help others reconnect to “their” Dickinson.

While, like any organization, changes and updates are necessary to stay current and to provide unique experiences to students, Dickinson is still “our” Dickinson. Each of us has personal experiences and memories that connect us to the college. That Dickinson, the one we remember, is still very much alive, and the continued success of our alma mater is based on the time and effort we each put forward today to spread the word of what makes Dickinson such an awesome and life-changing place.

Be certain to stay informed of upcoming events and activities by regularly visiting the alumni page. Consider participating in One College One Community events. This year’s One College One Community theme ties nicely into the recent celebration of global education in Washington, D.C. It was a great weekend to bring together alumni, faculty, program directors and students to celebrate the anniversaries of several Dickinson abroad programs. We have been, and will continue to be, a leader in the area of global education. Thanks to all of the college staff, students and alumni who helped to make the weekend such a great success!

Staying engaged also means sharing your ideas, so please feel free to contact me with suggestions and feedback. The entire Alumni Council is elected to serve as a liaison between the college and our alumni community, so please reach out to any of the members.

I look forward to our continued work together as we inspire one another to increase our impact—on fellow alumni, current students and future Dickinsonians! Meanwhile, have a pleasant fall and an enjoyable holiday season.

Read more from the fall 2015 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

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Published November 13, 2015