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From Theory to Action: Winter 2017

Michael Donnelly '02, Alumni Council president

This fall, the Alumni Council gathered at Dickinson for its first of three on-campus meetings to take place this academic year. The weather was quintessential Carlisle; it was sunny and warm(ish) on one day and overcast with drizzle on the next. Despite the varying elements, there was a collective “we feel at home” sentiment that was palpable among the members of the group. Together, we spent one and a half days orienting members, new and returning, on the functions of the Alumni Council, as well as general updates on the college. With no time for transition from one meeting to the next, the council joined the Career Conference for the kickoff luncheon with current students and fellow alumni who came back to campus. From there, the afternoon was filled with breakout sessions, interviewing opportunities and two receptions to close out the event.

Are you interested in giving back to our alma mater? Does the notion of dedicating time to come back to campus three times a year, each with a unique purpose and with student engagement, intrigue you? The Alumni Council is always looking for individuals who are dedicated volunteers for the college who will serve as cheerleaders. Our work is to continue to engage fellow alumni who are already involved in some way with the college while also finding and connecting with alumni who may not be as engaged to re-engage them with Dickinson. (Note: Our bylaws limit our membership, and our leadership committee works to secure a balanced membership that represents our expansive alumni body.) If you are interested in learning more about the Alumni Council, please send me an email and I will do my best to respond or share your inquiry with someone who can.

As you attend regional events (, I am certain that you will run into current Alumni Council members. As a collective, we are moving from the theory of being engaged and how to do so, to actively being present and involved with the greater alumni body. We need you to attend events, to be engaged with the college and to make Dickinson your No. 1 philanthropic priority. Together, we can continue the momentum that currently exists to catapult Dickinson into the foreseeable future (and beyond) as a premier private liberal-arts institution.

The Alumni Council is a small but powerful representation of the greater alumni association. This year is one of great transition. Our college has a dedicated committee searching for our next president. Whoever is selected will work diligently to re-engage alumni from a broad spectrum of class years. We, as a council, are doing that work now. We want to hear from you and find ways to not only engage you, but to energize you. This, a reunion year for classes ending in 2 and 7, will most definitely be a year during which members of those classes will be re-engaged and willing to make Dickinson a topic of their conversation with friends and family alike.

I charge everyone reading this article, no matter your class year, to make Dickinson a focus of your conversation with everyone. We are over 24,000 strong. This is our year to support Dickinson in ways that are unparalleled. This is the year to give back to Dickinson as a way to give thanks to the institution that provided for us the opportunities we have been given within the comfort of the limestone walls. By opportunities, I don’t simply mean jobs and careers; we have forged lifelong friendships and connections with classmates, faculty and staff. Your time and financial support will increase Dickinson’s profile not only on the national level, but the international level as well.

As always, should you have questions, comments or feedback, contact me at I look forward to our working together, acting on behalf of Dickinson, to promote and support our alma mater. I hope you’ll join me!

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Published January 18, 2017