Q & A With Cathy NoselJun 17th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Advancement
Since developing an institutional strategic plan five years ago, Wesley College has remained committed to following through on initiatives that will help grow its resources and support. To that end the Office of Institutional Advancement has reorganized its team of professionals to better meet the challenges ahead. One of the changes includes Cathy Nosel’s new role as director of alumni relations and annual giving. After managing the annual giving efforts for almost four years she will now add alumni relations responsibilities. As the new liaison with the Alumni Association, she looks forward to serving the needs of Wesley graduates and took a few minutes to answer some questions about her background and objectives to further alumni engagement.
Q: What is your vision for alumni relations?
A: I would like to see more alumni come back to campus for reunions and/or attend the regional events that we hold each year. Wesley alumni have great stories from their time as students. Last year the class of 1962 had their 50th
reunion, and the connection they all still had with each other was amazing even though most of them hadn’t seen each other for decades. The stories never ended—they laughed all weekend long! We all get busy with our lives but college memories are so special. My vision is to get more alumni to participate in events and to provide more opportunities for them to volunteer. I would like to continue the efforts that Amanda Downes and the Alumni Board have started to get more alumni involved as ambassadors with the Admissions Office, to have them return to campus for “Meet the Professionals Night” and to expand the Alumni Association Committee structure so that there are more volunteer opportunities available.
Q: What experience do you bring to the position?
A: My experience in higher education began in career services where I have worked in a number of different environments that include a liberal arts college as well as small to large state universities. After several years of working in student affairs, I migrated over to alumni and annual giving mostly due to the event planning experience I had gained over the years. I have also worked in the non-profit sector, which involved fundraising and community partnerships with other agencies. Prior to coming to Wesley, I was the associate director of alumni relations and annual giving at McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) for more than five years. Obviously, that position is most directly related to my new role at Wesley. However, the diversity of my experiences helps me to better understand that all departments are interrelated and each has an impact on the success of the College.
Q: Are there any advantages to being both the annual fund and alumni relations person?
A: I don’t know if I would term it an advantage but more that it is a logical merger of these two functions. In most cases, when alumni look back on their experience atcollege they remember relationships. Whether it is friendships, partnerships or faculty mentorships, alumni connect with people, not buildings. When making gifts, people consider their connection to the organization. Therefore, it makes sense that it is the common connection that drives giving. It is my hope to keep alumni connected to Wesley so that they take pride in their alma mater and want to help it succeed. We always hear alumni from all the decades comment that Wesley gave them a chance and was integral to their success after college. With almost 50 percent of our current students being the first in their family to attend college, financing their education is the prominent concern. We hope alumni will reflect on their experience and how Wesley helped them and then pay it forward to help students achieve their dream of attaining a college degree.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge?
A: To increase alumni awareness of what is going on at Wesley and to be considered a resource for our alumni. The online community and Facebook are both easy ways to keep up to date on news and events. Just by updating their email address with the online community, alumni receive the monthly newsletter. Whether online or at a Wesley event, alumni can find fellow alums who could help with a job search, relocation to another area, or get career advice from people who share their experiences. I encourage all alumni to update their profiles with the online community at www.weare.wesley.edu and to like Wesley College on Facebook—that would be a great start!