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Connecting Students to Network of Graduates Top Priority for Alumni Relations

Like many universities, TLU’s Office of Alumni Relations relies heavily on personal interactions and events. Like many other departments across campus, the Alumni Relations team had to think outside the box this past year because of COVID restrictions.

While there were virtual events, email campaigns, and other special presentations, Taylor Collins ’14, director of alumni relations and development marketing, says their office is excited for a return to their in-person programs. With plans to engage with more alumni at events throughout the country, Collins hopes to bring TLU a little closer for Bulldogs who don’t live near campus or in Texas.

“We have alumni in every state and members of our Alumni Association Board of Directors across the nation,” he said. “Our board members have worked to plan happy hours, net-working mixers, gatherings at city parks, and other sorts of fun activities where we can all get together.”

While their office is most known for awards ceremonies, donor programming, mixers, and much more, Alumni & Family Weekend is the highlight of Collins’ year. The 2021 event, held on October 1 and 2, was even more special since they were unable to host it in 2020. It was actually the first project Collins worked on after being hired.

“I look forward to it so much because it’s the absolute most special time of the year,” he said. “Campus is alive with thou-sands of alumni & friends who’ve returned to Seguin. It’s exciting to see alumni interact with current students, reconnect with their organizations, and cheer on our football team.”

Collins says his team has become even more focused on increasing connections between students and alumni.

“By collaborating with Student Life & Learning to interact more with current Bulldogs, we will increase engagement after graduation,” he said. “We are also working to form a student-alumni organization, an alumni mentorship program, and more career development and networking opportunities.”

One of the things Collins says he has enjoyed watching throughout his nearly seven years at TLU is when he sees young alumni thriving.

“From financial planners and school principals to engineers, NFL coaches, and doctors, I see their success—their journey—and I’m so proud,” he said. “Members of my fraternity, Sigma Phi Theta, are bank vice presidents and a few run their own businesses. To see so many Bulldogs doing well and positively representing TLU is the best part of my job.”

He says recent graduates aren’t only succeeding in their careers, they’re also giving back to TLU. Nate Raschke ’13 serves on the Board of Regents, Hannah Schmidt ’18 serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Joel Gronberg ’12 dedicates his time to the Development Board.

“Our young alumni are really stepping up, staying connected, and helping make sure the next group of students have the same great experiences they did,” he said. “Your affinity, memories, and connections with TLU begin as a freshman. Connecting alumni with students helps strengthen the entire TLU family.”

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