On Friday, January 15th, Alumni Council Representatives Laurie Stanell and Susan Wilson met with incoming Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford. As the first Chief Executive Office of the Penn State Alumni Association, Paul reports to Rodney Kirsch, Senior Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, who reports to Dr Barron, the President of Penn State. Paul has 78 staff reporting to him, all employees of the Penn State Office of Development.
Susan and Laurie took a gift basket to welcome the Clifford family to Happy Valley. It included Blue Kool-Aid (which it turns out Paul was raised on), stickies (a family favorite), a White Out pompom and lei, a Pink Zone pompom, a clear purse for Mrs Clifford, and a presentation binder of great articles from 40 years of Penn Staters.
“The binder contained examples of best practices I wanted to share with him about communicating with and engaging alumni,” Susan told us. Both Susan and Laurie stressed that “many older alumni are not in tune with web based communications, online streaming media, and social networks. We need to keep them in the loop to help win back and heal the hearts of the Nittany Nation folks who walked away, feeling disenfranchised.”
Both ladies agreed their first impressions of our new CEO were positive. “He comes from a Penn State family,” Susan said, “he truly GETS where we are coming from. I absolutely am a fan and believe we have a good man! I would ask you to all give him a chance.”
Laurie Stanell said “He was very positive for change, and pointed out that Alumni Council is heavily politicized. His plans to engage alumni more is heartening. Right now he is listening and said his door is always open. Overall I was very happy.”
We would welcome a new spirit of cooperation, and the Spring Alumni council elections would be a very good place to start. Positive steps may be coming in the next few months, and we thank our elected Alumni Council representatives for their leadership and initiative.