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Volume 3, Issue 6

Presidents Should Champion Alumni

Community college presidents need to lead the campus conversation about the value of their institution's alumni, says the keynote speaker of an upcoming CASE conference.

"As president, my role is to be the chief champion of our alumni, so that [everyone] understands the value that they bring to the community," says DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. "I need to speak passionately and accurately as possible about our alumni and tout them whenever possible."

She adds that presidents also must help local businesses and other organizations in the area understand the value of the community college so that they can become champions of its alumni as well. This "reciprocity," she says, is essential to successful alumni relations efforts.

Pollard also says community colleges need to look at their alumni as more than just potential donors. She says alumni should be seen as advocates and lifelong learners.

"Oftentimes, we simply embrace development strategies that work in the short term to increase donors," she says. "The actuality is that we should want [our alumni] to have a relationship with the college and the community."

Pollard says institutions that actively cultivate relationships with their alumni and work to help them understand the value they bring to the community will ultimately increase giving.

She will offer further perspective on presidential leadership and alumni relations at the upcoming virtual conference on Engaging Community College Alumni in March.

Please share your questions and comments with Marc Westenburg via email at or +1 202 478 5570.

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This article is from the December 2013 issue of the Community College Advancement News.