When the economy plunged, people lost jobs. Recognizing that some of those out of work were University of St. Francis (USF) alumni, the school, which has more than 48,000 alumni, began helping them network with each other through non-traditional programming.
“This is definitely one of our strengths,” said Aubrey Knight ’04, ’07, director of alumni & family relations for USF. “We asked ourselves how we could engage alumni outside of Homecoming and annual events, and came up with some unique ideas.”
One way is via the Student Alumni Mentoring Program, which was established in 2012. Alumni mentors are partnered with current students based on similar career paths, interests and goals.
“It connects our students with alumni,” Knight said. “It has been a really successful program for us.”
Another way is through the Education Alumni Alliance program, which gives USF access to alumni teachers’ classrooms for college days. Alumni teachers can also request pennants and USF promotional items for their students, or can request a special visit by USF’s mascot, Bernie the Saint Bernard.
USF has an active alumni association, which is complimentary to all USF graduates. It has many valuable benefits, including a half-tuition discount for courses taken toward personal enrichment, career services, use of the Pat Sullivan Center recreational facilities and more.
“Our alumni association offers graduates a lot that keeps them tied to their alma mater, which is important for a close knit school like ours,” Knight said. “We’ve built a family of students-- whether they’re a traditional undergraduate student or learning online. When students graduate, we want them to know that the family relationship isn’t over. We bridge the gap that occurs when current students transition to becoming alumni.”
Alumni are invited to a free concert on Sept. 8 by alumnus and rising country musician Stephen Cservenyak ’13, who goes by Stephen Neal onstage, on the USF Quad. “He’s performed with a lot of big names,” Knight said. “It should be a great end-of-summer event.”
Save the date for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, Oct. 7-8. USF’s Fighting Saints will play Missouri Science & Technology at 1 p.m. and many activities are being planned for alumni and families throughout the weekend.
500 Wilcox St., Joliet, IL 60435
Call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.