In January, alumni from around the country spent part of their days and nights on the phone, telling people what a great place Xavier is to attend college. While that’s not so unusual—alumni brag all the time—what made it out of the ordinary is the people they were talking to were high school students. The alumni were taking part in a new “alumni ambassadors” program in which they help the University recruit students. Who better, after all, to sell Xavier than alumni?
The program is one of the many notable changes put into place this year by the National Alumni Association in its effort to “grow and flourish in support of Xavier University,” says executive director Joe Ventura. Following a yearlong effort, the association rewrote its constitution and bylaws so it is poised to provide leadership in three areas critical to University success: alumni engagement, student recruitment and development. This is the first major realignment since the current National Alumni Association was ratified in 1993. While the association has had great success in that time—growing the alumni network to include 50 chapters, for instance—“it is now time to look beyond all of our success and forge a new, more powerful and strategic partnership with our beloved alma mater,” says Ventura. “As the University keeps reaching new heights, the National Alumni Association needs to keep pace as well.”
Among other changes alumni may notice is a shift to a more regional network of chapters, with a regional director overseeing the individual chapters. This not only allows for mentoring of new chapter presidents, but creates a consistency nationwide. “That’s not something you may notice immediately,” says association president Mike Hanpeter, a 1996 graduate and president of the Washington, D.C., chapter, “but something you’ll notice down the road. And by having only the regional directors on the board, this will allow us to be more of a working board and help the University with more strategic goals. I really think these changes will enhance the National Alumni Association.”