Dec 9, 2013

Volunteer Network Leaders Help Alumni Nationally Stay Connected

The attendees of the 2013 Network Leaders
Conference took a backstage tour of CCM
during their Homecoming Weekend visit to campus.
Washington D.C. is 402 miles east of the University of Cincinnati’s Clifton campus. Jacksonville, Fla., is 628 miles south; San Francisco, Calif., 2,040 miles west.

Distance didn’t stop Adam Thurn, CEAS ’10; Kimberly Marshall, Bus ’83; and Chad Reid, A&S ’09, ’10, respectively, from returning to UC for Homecoming the middle weekend of October. They came for two reasons:  1) They share a strong desire to stay closely connected with their university;  2)  More importantly, they want to do the same for their fellow alumni who live with them in those distant cities.

Thurn, Marshall and Reid were three of 25 alumni who converged on the Myers Alumni Center for the UC Alumni Association’s annual Network Leaders Conference. They swapped stories, shared best practices, and collectively brainstormed about how to better engage the UC alumni in the 31 U.S. cities with UCAA regional alumni networks.

“Half of our nearly 270,000 alumni live outside Greater Cincinnati, whether it’s one state over, across the country or on the other side of the world,” said Sam Walston, CECH ’09, the UCAA program director who oversees national and international alumni outreach. “We rely on these volunteer network leaders to be our ambassadors and key resources for the thousands of alums who live in their areas.”

As the term “network” implies, the volunteers got involved with the UC Alumni Association because they either “knew somebody,” or they wanted to.

“I had gone to a UC-Northern Illinois football game with long-time network leader Dave Watkins on a visit to Chicago years ago,” recalled Markus Kremer, CEAS ’92. “When I later moved to Chicago, I got involved with the network. Then when I moved to Milwaukee, I began to coordinate that network on my own.”

Carmen Pescatrice, A&S ’11, recently moved to Cleveland. “I was looking to network with UC people in the Cleveland area to reignite the Bearcat bonds and develop my career,” he said. “When I learned there was a revitalized alumni network, I was eager to join and was appointed social chair.

“It’s a great way to make contacts and help others do the same while reminiscing about our collegiate experiences. The Bearcat network is powerful and has amazing opportunities.”

Cleveland’s alumni network was rejuvenated by a visit from UC President Santa Ono’s #HottestCollegeinAmerica Tour earlier this year. The turnout was tremendous, the message about today’s UC was exciting, and the alums in attendance wanted to keep the energy going. The network is the way to do that. Similar results are occurring wherever Ono’s tour makes a stop.

A key takeaway from each Network Leaders Conference is the need for diverse programming. While there will always be widespread interest in attending games when the Bearcats come to town or getting together for game-watches in local “Bearcat hangouts,” not everyone is into sports. Consequently, UC alums have come together this year for such events as a UC-themed picnic in Dallas, a concert featuring CCM alumna Kathleen Battle in Baltimore, a wine-tasting in Minneapolis, and a tour of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, just to name a few.

The bottom line: If you live in or near a city with a UCAA regional alumni network, there are hundreds or even thousands of Bearcats around you. Many of them get together for various kinds of activities while strengthening their UC connections. And a lot of it probably originated with your network volunteers and their Homecoming return to campus.

Click here to see what’s going on in your area, and to volunteer with your area network. If your city isn’t listed, or if you want to learn more about getting involved, contact Sam Walston at 513-556-4404, 877-4-UCALUM toll-free, or

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