As I write this to all of you, our 86,000 alumni, it is with a bittersweet feeling of anticipation, joy and a little sadness, as this will be my final column prior to my retirement in June. Shortly after I became the executive director of the Oswego Alumni Association in 1995, I began this column as a way to communicate with you directly to engage and inform you about how to stay connected with Oswego.
Though so much has changed since 1995 in the ways we receive information and interact with each other, the core mission of the Oswego Alumni Association remains unchanged—to inform and interest a diverse constituency in the life of the university to create a partnership that encourages involvement, enhances loyalty and serves the current and future needs of the institution and alumni. Together, we have done so much over my 35 years in the Alumni Office and my 24 years leading the alumni association, to build this partnership and help our students, fellow alumni and SUNY Oswego. And that has included the countless faculty and staff colleagues who have enthusiastically partnered with us to engage and connect our alumni. Most notably has been President Stanley’s unconditional support of me personally and of alumni engagement and communications as a vital component of our institution.
There are too many “joys” of my work here to enumerate in this space. Suffice it to say, when I answered a job ad in the local paper for an assistant alumni director opening (yes, that is how we used to find jobs!), I never dreamed it would be starting me down a path of a lifelong passion and calling that brought such great joy and satisfaction … and so many laughs and good times. I hope I’ve been able to make a small difference here. I say all the time, “I have the greatest job in the world!”
Jerry ’77 and I plan to stay in Oswego at least right now, as Jerry continues his 40-plus years of working in the Admissions Office to recruit new Lakers to join our SUNY Oswego family. I’m not sure what my next chapter will hold. I look forward to service on some boards, getting our new rescue pup, Jackson, certified to be a therapy dog to visit nursing homes (and SUNY Oswego!), spending more time with family, traveling and participating in whatever other volunteer or service opportunities may present themselves along the way.
One of our other primary goals is always to be looking ahead, including seamless succession planning. Alumni Director Laura Pavlus Kelly ’09 will capably lead alumni engagement forward. Margaret Spillett will continue to keep you engaged and well-informed through all of our numerous communications channels and Michelle Tackett Spinner ’98 will manage our donor relations efforts with our increasing number of major donors.
As I ended that first column, I will end this final one: “Whether you are a member of a Golden Anniversary class, a recent graduate or someplace in between, you are important to the Oswego Alumni Association, and you help us continue to prove ‘Oswego Matters.’”
And I’ll see you when you make your way back to Oz, or online or on the road in my increasing travels. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful memories, the laughs and, most importantly, the lifelong relationships and friendships you’ve shared with me. It has been a privilege to be a small part of this special place.
With Laker pride, love and heartfelt gratitude,
By Executive Director