I’d go so far as to say that relationships are the most meaningful thing we as humans have. Whether personal or professional, they are what we lean on in hard times and what we depend on in times of celebration.
As a lifelong educator, I can assure you they are what make the difference between an experience that is passable and an experience that is valued and loved for the ages.
You may know that last year, we conducted a study that polled alumni on their perceptions of IUP and their experience as students. The results were both insightful and gratifying—94 percent of alumni rated their decision to attend IUP as good to great. One bit of feedback caught my eye, though, and it’s what I’d like to address in this first edition of Your Leadership Update. Survey respondents said they’d like to have had more opportunities during their student years to forge relationships with alumni.
I have been impressed since my arrival at IUP at how alumni marvel at their IUP experience—I point to the public announcement of our Imagine Unlimited campaign as an example of how important relationships are. All of our speakers that evening made a point to talk about the friendships they forged and the mentors who encouraged and inspired them. My hope for the future is that each and every one of our students has the opportunity to forge at least five mentor relationships in their time at IUP.
And, wouldn’t it be such an advantage to our students to have had one of those relationships with an alumna, alumnus, or friend of IUP—someone who is familiar with the city they might settle in or the company that might hire them? Someone who knows the ropes. You might know that our Office of Alumni and Friends holds many networking events for our students to connect them with working professionals. We also are grateful for times when alumni and friends come to campus to engage with students, whether it’s in the role of a discussion panelist or guest lecturer. Your contact can make all the difference for a student who might not have the courage to venture far from home or to take a risk in a professional field.
Alumni and donors set the tone. Alumni and donors keep the IUP network strong. Your keep the circle of IUP’s strength alive. As a Leadership Society donor, you already do so much for IUP with your generous commitment of philanthropic support. If mentoring a student is something that would interest you, we would be most grateful for your involvement. Please contact Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, our vice president for University Advancement, or Mary Morgan, our director of the Office of Alumni and Friends. Either will be glad to direct you and connect you.
Today, I addressed the university community in our annual fall opening. I invite you to see what I told the audience about our direction in the face of some the big societal challenges our nation faces.
I also told them that because of people like you, our alumni and donors, I have a great deal of hope for our future. If you have a question or comment, please leave it below.