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Monday, November 24, 2014

Connect Through the New WCC Alumni Association

By Anita LeBlanc

You always thought you would stay in touch with your classmates, but a new course of study, your career, or other obligations got in the way after you attended WCC. Sure, you could track them down via Google, Facebook, or other online options. But WCC is now offering its graduates another way to reconnect that offers special advantages: the newly created WCC Alumni Association.

The association will provide a source of community that will mutually serve alumni and the College, said Wendy Lawson, the WCC Foundation’s associate vice president of advancement. Alicia Schuster, scholarship and alumni coordinator at the WCC Foundation, heads the new alumni group.

“It will offer our alumni not only the opportunity to reconnect personally and professionally with former classmates,” said Lawson, “but to provide service, mentorship, and academic scholarship opportunities for current students, alumni, and the community at large.”

Other advantages of free alumni association membership include:

  • Free use of WCC’s library and services at Counseling and Career Planning
  • A subscription to the bi-annual Alumni Association newsletter, which will showcase graduate success stories
  • A subscription to the WCC Foundation newsletter
  • Discounted event tickets from Student Development and Activities
  • Special invitations to alumni and Foundation events

The association launched its website on Sept. 1. Schuster encourages alumni to to share their academic or professional successes, which will be posted on the website.

Reaching Out to Reconnect

Lauren Willis, one of the first to join the Alumni Association, said she’s excited about the chance it gives her to reunite with classmates. Willis, who received her WCC associate degree in liberal arts in 2007, is now earning her master’s at Rutgers University. “I hope my career brings me back to the area,” she said. “WCC did so much for me, and I’d love the opportunity to mentor other students.”

While state colleges and universities generally group their alumni by graduation year, WCC does things a little differently. “We do so by graduates’ program of study within our schools,” said Schuster. “For example, the Nursing and Health Sciences School or Automotive and Motorcycle Technology School. A student should also have completed more than 24 credit hours, or earned an associate degree or certificate from WCC, to be considered an alumnus.”

Honoring Distinguished Alumni

The initiative to create the alumni group also includes plans to create an annual WCC Distinguished Alumnus Award, which will honor alumni who have made significant contributions in their career fields and community.

“Alumni can nominate themselves, or other alumni members,” Schuster said. “The criteria for nomination eligibility and online application are on our website. Nominations must be received by the Feb. 1, 2011 deadline. The WCC Alumni Committee will select the winner later that month.”

The Distinguished Alumnus will be asked to speak at the WCC Foundation’s annual Scholarship Luncheon and invited to participate in other WCC events throughout the year.

The Power of Many

Shuster noted that hundreds of thousands of students have attended WCC since it opened in 1966. “Imagine the power of even a percentage of them coming together to network and support each other and WCC,” she said.

John McManus is pleased to count himself among them. McManus, who earned general education credits before transferring to Eastern Michigan University in 1986, now works in corporate banking at PNC Bank.

“Washtenaw gave me the opportunity to explore and discover my real interest,” he said. “My son is now attending classes there. My alumni membership will give me the chance to personally give back and make a difference to others.”

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