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At the 2015 Reunion Weekend, President Eastman hosted the Alumni Summit to show his belief and support in strengthening alumni engagement through the launch of a new alumni PLAN. Jim Annarelli, dean of students, moderated to emphasize that building a culture of philanthropy, of leadership ability, of pride in the Eckerd experience begins at the student level and while it has largely ended there, we want it to continue after graduation.
Over 300 alumni, faculty, staff, and students joined us on campus as President Eastman shared his plan for the College’s future and the importance of alumni in achieving that vision. In this informal setting, the audience heard from three alumni Ian Johnson ’89, Sue Slaugenhaupt ’85 and Robin Suarez ’85, and Brady O’Donnell ’15 about their personal engagement experiences.
“As Eckerd alumni, this is our institution. We, as students and now alumni, are this institution; we will continue to be this institution. With that we need to be the equity owners of this institution and that is giving through support, through volunteerism and through contributions. Support the students that are here, the students that will come here and really support the future of this institution.”
— Ian Johnson ’89
“As a student, I didn’t think about how I could continue that role of encouraging and empowering others around me to share their opinion and still stay involved with the College after graduation. There’s no reason that once you graduate and are no longer on campus that you can’t still be involved. As alumni it’s our responsibility to this institution to get involved because it’s our vision that’s going to keep pushing it along.”
— Brady O’Donnell ’15
“We have so much to be proud of as Eckerd alumni. It’s not just who we are and how we are in the world, which is so much to be proud of. It’s now time to see what we can do to bring opportunities back to this institution. We need to take the strength that we have as an alumni body and raise our hand to say ‘hey, you know, what about Eckerd?’ We all carry Eckerd with us.”
— Robin Suarez ’85
“We have an entire career’s worth of alumni with our oldest alumni retiring. We should be able to create an alumni network for our students where we can provide internships and opportunities because that’s really what sets our students apart. It doesn’t matter what you do, I guarantee you there’s probably a student at Eckerd who wants to do what you do. We need to build this network for our current students and to build the network for each other.”
— Sue Slaugenhaupt ’85