Conferences & Training
Faculty - Institute for Senior Alumni Relations Professionals

Conference Chair

Steve Grafton

Steve Grafton
President and CEO, Alumni Association
University of Michigan

Steve Grafton is president and chief executive of the alumni association of the University of Michigan. He came to Michigan in 1994, from Mississippi State University where he was the executive director of the alumni association. Before that he worked for U.S. Senator John Stennis.

Grafton is a former member of CASE's Board of Trustees and chaired the Commission on Alumni Relations. He has also been a district director, faculty member for numerous CASE conferences and editor of the alumni section in the Handbook of Institutional Advancement. He is the current president of the Council of Alumni Association Executives.


Ralph Amos

Ralph Amos
President and CEO, Purdue Alumni Association
Purdue University

Ralph Amos is a recognized alumni relations executive with 26 years of experience in institutional advancement and alumni engagement. Before becoming president and CEO of Purdue Alumni, Amos served as vice president of alumni relations for the University System of Maryland Foundation, responsible for implementing system-wide initiatives throughout Maryland's 12 degree-granting universities and, collectively, its nearly one million alumni.

Prior to his role at Maryland, he served as assistant vice chancellor of the Division of External Affairs at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and chief executive officer of the UCLA Alumni Association; assistant vice president of alumni relations at Ohio University; and assistant vice president of membership marketing and constituent societies at The Ohio State University.

Amos received a bachelor's degree in international studies from The Ohio State University and a master's degree in public administration from Ohio University.

Barbara Dick
Assistant Vice-President, Alumni Relations
University of Toronto

Barbara Dick is assistant vice-president of alumni relations at the University of Toronto, leading innovative programs that engage the university's more than 550,000 alumni worldwide. She provides central leadership for alumni relations within the university  environment. Along with colleagues and volunteers in more than 25 divisions, she works to foster alumni engagement in support of the university's mission and goals.

Dick is an active volunteer and frequent presenter. She is a mentor in the University of Toronto's Staff Mentorship Program, and serves as a mentor to political science students. She is active in professional service associations, serving as the first Canadian president of the Council for Alumni Association Executives (CAAE).

She is a past member of the International Commission on Alumni Relations at CASE. She was also a member of the board of directors and chair of the Governance Committee of the Young People's Theatre (YPT), Canada's largest and longest standing children's theatre company.

Dick is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has more than 25 years of experience in higher education and the arts.

Lisa R. Lewis

Lisa R. Lewis
President and CEO
University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Lisa Lewis joined the University of Minnesota Alumni Association as president and chief executive officer on May 31, 2013. During her tenure, she has expanded the association's focus to serve all 455,000 alumni, created a customer-centric culture to deliver meaningful programs, strengthened campus partnerships, and initiated a major technology infrastructure project that will enable the UMAA to engage alumni worldwide.

A 28-year association professional with experience managing higher education organizations, Lewis focuses on enriching the lives of alumni, supporting student success and advancing the University of Minnesota. She serves on the CASE Commission for Alumni Relations, her profession's international organization, and has spoken nationally on the value and impact of alumni in higher education.

Lewis graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with degrees in marketing and public relations.

Guest Speakers

T.J. Duane

T.J. Duane
Co-founder and CEO

T.J. Duane is co-founder and CEO of BrightCrowd, a next generation professional network. BrightCrowd's peer-to-peer platform helps organizations create stronger connections with and among their members by making it easy for people to give and get advice. 

Duane has served on the Executive Committee of the Harvard Law School Association (HLSA) for the last decade and is currently vice president of communications. He has founded several other successful social and professional networking platforms and has been invited to speak at conferences, companies and top universities on the topics of entrepreneurship, blockchain, and the intersection of data science and networking. He was previously a corporate attorney at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP in New York.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

Stacy Palmer

Stacy Palmer
Chronicle of Philanthropy

Stacy Palmer has served as a top editor since the Chronicle of Philanthropy was founded in 1988 and has overseen the development of its website, She plays a hands-on role in many Chronicle services, such as its Philanthropy Today daily newsletter and its webinar series offering professional development for people involved in fundraising, grant seeking, advocacy, marketing and social media.

Palmer has appeared frequently on radio and television to offer commentary on news in the nonprofit world. She is the editor of Challenges for Philanthropy and Nonprofits, a book published by the University Press of New England that collects three decades of observations by the nonprofit activist and Chronicle columnist Pablo Eisenberg. Before she helped found the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Palmer was editor for government and politics at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

She is a graduate of Brown University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in international relations. She has been an active alumna, serving on numerous alumni boards, including chairing the Brown Alumni Magazine and is now a member of the university's Women's Leadership Council.