The recent staff changes in the Advancement Office have brought new faces and fresh ideas to the forefront within this important part of college administration. The reorganization spearheaded by the new Vice President for Advancement Maureen Silva has lead to the recent hiring of many new staff members but the most noticeable change has been the number of alumni who now work in the office.
The College has invited Kaitlin Hines ’10, Nezia Munezero ’08, Kelly Hernandez ’08, Michael Carver ’05, and Keisha Reynolds ’96 to work at the College in a number of different capacities throughout the Advancement Office.They also join alumni David Sushinsky ’02, Karen Raley ’94, and Nancy Abell ’73 who have also seen their titles and responsibilities shuffle around.
Some of the changes that have affected the new Advancement Office have been the creation of new positions such as the Assistant Vice President for External Relations, Senior Development Officer, and Alumni Relations Officer, along with others, as well as the movement of Web Services from the Tech Department to Advancement.
The changes have also lead to new priorities within the office. The most pressing is the fundraising for the scholarship fund.
The creation of new positions have lead to a more effective means to delegate responsibility, thus allowing the staff to focus more on gifts and donations.
Another priority has been developing the College’s public imagine and mission out to a wider audience. A new streamlined process that flows through the office of the Assistant Vice President for External Relations will hopefully be able to produce new ideas to help the boster the public image of the College.
However, all of these new positions have one thing in common: they are being filled with former students of the College. Each had their reasons to return to St. Mary’s; however, these reasons speak volumes about the nature of St. Mary’s students from the past through the present. After being active in campus life and with the creation of the popular International Club, Munezero said “coming back was my way to give back to SMCM.” She continued by saying St. Mary’s is “where I want to be.”
Sushinsky remarked that one of the unique things about working at the College was the people. “The people who work here are really loyal,” said Sushinsky, “they work to see it thrive.”
Sushinsky’s point was best captured by Raley, who said “at the end of the day, I feel good about helping the College.”
Even recent graduates can be found working at the College including Hernandez and Hines. “[By coming] you can see what you didn’t before when you were a student,” said Hernandez.
Hines decided to come back since she “still doesn’t know what [she] wants to do after college.” Hines believes that working at the College gives her time to develop work experience without the stress of moving to a new city.
These alumni also have stories that sound a lot like those of current students. Abell was a commuter student just as the College was becoming a four year institution. Pushed by parents who wanted her to attend college, Abell played on the basketball team during her two years at the College.
Raley’s biggest accomplishment during college was her dedication to the sailing team, which included going to championships all four years. Sushinsky finished his SMP on time while surviving Dorchester Hall for 3 years. Hernandez believed that graduating on time with a major in biology was a nearly impossible task but in the end it was “very fulfilling.” Hines and Munezero both worked hard on their SMP and were proud of the results.
Carver summed up most students’ concern when he stated that his biggest accomplishment was “building a close network of friends that he still counts on today.” Each staff member had only glowing reviews about their time in higher education and suggested to all current students that they may want to consider such a path.
“Go for it if you want to and have the opportunity,” said Abell. Sushinsky added “if you don’t know what to do but you love SMCM, why not?”
Several staff members remarked that they had not considered coming back to the College during their time as student, but they were lucky to have kept an open mind to the possibility.
“Gain a lot of experience while you’re here,” said Munezero, “ and take advantage of every opportunity.”