Beyond the Limestone Walls: Increasing Our Impact

Michael Donnelly

by Michael Donnelly '02, Alumni Council President

What is your Dickinson story? Have you shared with others your connection to the college, your experience and what Dickinson means to you? I challenge you to not only reminisce with roommates, floormates and best friends from your time at Dickinson, but also to share your story with current students and, possibly even of more importance, with prospective students.

To sustain our academic excellence, it is essential that we continue to search for and secure the very best students who will enroll as future Dickinsonians. Representing Dickinson at local college fairs, participating in prospective student interviews or attending regional events with prospective students and parents are all  great ways to (re)engage with your alma mater while, at the same time, engaging future alumni.

Why do I remind you of the many different ways you can support Dickinson? Well, I write this column having recently participated in a weekend on campus with the Board of Trustees, followed by a weekend with dedicated Dickinsonians who serve on the Alumni Council. Both entities, along with other responsibilities, are  charged with outreach and finding ways to engage the more than 22,000 alumni that our highly selective liberal-arts college has sent off into the world. All 22,000 of us can have a positive impact on our alma mater.

During the trustees’ meeting, we had the opportunity to participate in a work session with students, faculty, staff and administrators as part of the college’s latest  strategic planning process. It was during that conversation that I overheard a comment about “lifelong attachment.” I ask you to consider your own lifelong attachment to Dickinson. What makes Dickinson such an integral part of your life? What is it that you think about when you reflect upon your time at Dickinson?  Why and how is it that you are where you are today, and what role did your Dickinson experience play in that trajectory? Consider, too, that your experience and attachment to Dickinson is a narrative not yet written for future alumni.

And as you consider your story, you can pen a new chapter. By that, I mean that your Dickinson story is still being written. You can have such an amazing impact on current students (future alumni) by making yourself available to them: No matter how geographically far you are from Carlisle, you still can be present for current students. One example is the Dickinson online directory, which is accessible to alumni and current seniors. When you update your information, you not only are allowing former classmates and friends to find you, but you also are availing yourself to the future alumni joining us officially in May.

The Dickinson network is only as strong as each of its individual members. I welcome the opportunity to hear your story. If you would like to learn about ways you can expand (y)our network, feel free to email me at

Until next time, be well!

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Published April 28, 2016