It’s a pleasure to begin work as president of the Willamette University Alumni Association (WUAA) Board of Directors. I’ve been around to see the board work with the Office of Alumni Relations for some time, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
Thirty percent of Willamette’s living alumni graduated within the last 15 years. This means that as the demographics of our alumni base change, so should our services.
The Career Network, for example, in conjunction with undergraduate career services, is expanding into a comprehensive, lifelong service with events around the nation. Almost 1,000 alumni have joined the Willamette alumni group on Linkedin.com, providing 24-hour access to professional networking. Willamette’s communications have expanded to include social media and daily updates that allow you to connect and communicate with the university in many ways.
While our methods of outreach and service will continue to change, all 20,000- plus living Willamette alumni share a unique cultural bond, whether they graduated during the 1930s or the 2000s. Take some time to reconnect with Willamette via these new means today — learn more at willamette.edu/alumni.
—Brian Hufft ’01
It’s important to keep in mind the benefits available to all Willamette graduates. Here are some of the highlights, particularly for fellow Oregonians:
Learn more at willamette.edu/alumni/benefits.
We’ve added new twists this time, with updated, affordable events; a revamped schedule; and personal touches throughout.
Although alumni from all class years are welcome to attend, we’re inviting the following classes back to campus for special events and recognition:
We’re also helping to welcome several special reunion groups coordinated through the Department of Athletics: men’s rugby, baseball and men’s basketball (years 1974–77). See p. 11 for more details.
Visit willamette.edu/alumni/reunion for reunion class websites, links to registration, a downloadable copy of the full schedule and plenty more information. See you on campus soon!
In an episode of the popular sitcom The Office, Michael, the oft-clueless boss, rebels against a new internetbased business plan by trying to win back ex-clients “the old-fashioned way” — by buying them comically large gift baskets. He’ll get the clients back, he says, with the personal touch and peanut brittle rather than by embracing the efficiencies promised by the newfangled computer system.
Needless to say, it devolves into a hilarious disaster. Michael’s coworkers, who coolly learn to use their new Blackberries while their boss is out running baskets around, are not shocked when his scheme doesn’t work.
There is a sneakily useful lesson about the job world here. We’ll always run into these sorts of tensions — between the old and the new, between long resumes and short ones, between flowery cover letters and ultra-concise ones, between direct personal connections and e-networking, between embracing Facebook and avoiding it like day-old coffee. And it seems more and more that the people who are able to find their dream jobs are the ones who, rather than hanging onto what they think will work, are able to adapt to what is working. They live on the cutting edge.
But, in a sense, Michael was right. Increasingly, job seekers (especially younger ones) can actually set themselves apart by considering the personal touches. Learn how to network meaningfully and get people to remember you as a person. Practice the art of conversation. Write thank-you notes (no, not emails) if you think the recipient might appreciate it. Work on your handshake.
It has become a cliché to say that the current generation lacks social skills, and in many ways we know that’s flat wrong. But a lot of people — especially some managers — can be pleasantly surprised to see their future employees using the “old-fashioned” tricks of the trade effectively.
In the end, as is so often the case, the wisest approach combines parts of the old with the new, the “then” with the “now.” Just think: Michael could have offered thumb drives and webinars along with those hand-delivered chocolates.
In the spirit of the current issue, here are some interesting bits of information we found while cruising the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau and Department of Transportation websites (we do that sort of thing). One point of interest: In 2000, the U.S. unemployment rate was four percent. It can be done.
Services and events at willamette.edu/alumni/career_network
The first two Willamette travel options for next year are getting deposits as we speak, so it’s time to look ahead to 2011. These promise to be wonderful trips, and they include several special highlights.
(And remember: The travel program is open to parents and other friends of the university as well as alumni.)
We are limited to 25 spots on this incredible trip. This is your chance to see Victoria Falls, two animal parks (Chobe and Kruger) and the incomparable Cape Town, all while enjoying 21 sightseeing tours, superb hotels and safari lodges.
The package for this 19-day trip includes round-trip airfare, making this among the easiest, best-value options we’ve been able to offer. For all the details, visit the trip information webpage or give us a call (see right).
Back by popular demand, next year’s Tuscany trip will once again allow Willamette alumni and friends to return to Tuscany with recently retired Professor Roger Hull, who will help us to appreciate Renaissance art along the way.
We’ll spend six nights in scenic Cortona and take day trips to Assisi, Perugia, Pienza, Montepulciano and Siena. Our last two nights will be enjoyed in Florence at the Grand Hotel Baglioni. Our tour operator will again be AHI, who did such an excellent job for us in 2008. They will provide a program director and local guides to ensure that we maximize our appreciation of Renaissance art, Italian wines and Tuscan cooking.
The program is still based on three yearly alumni citations, and anyone may make a nomination:
Recognizes Willamette graduates who, in professional achievement and service to their communities, represent the university in an exemplary manner by embodying its highest ideals and motto, “Not unto ourselves are we born.”
Recognizes graduates whose lifetime loyalty and service to Willamette reflect the ideals of one of the university’s most devoted alumni, Lestle J. Sparks ’19.
Recognizes graduates from the past 10 years for outstanding leadership in their vocation, community service and service to the university. The awards now have a local focus: Instead of having the award ceremonies at Reunion Weekend here in Salem, as we’ve done in the past, we’re going to travel to each of the winners’ hometowns and make a more personalized presentation of the award. That way, extended family and coworkers — and regional alumni — can more easily take part.
For more information and to make a nomination, go to willamette.edu/ alumni/recognition to fill out the new nomination form online or download a copy to mail in. Or, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 503-375-5304 and we’ll be happy to send you any materials you’d like.
Next step: Make that nomination!