Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

On Org Charts

Though I'm no poet, my updates during my first months at Willamette have leaned toward a loftier tone. This column will be much less so, unless you're the type that sees poetry in org charts (I know you're out there).

I wanted to provide an update on some staffing changes within the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. These changes are being made at this time for two reasons: normal staff transitions, and new programmatic enhancements. After evaluating our past programs and future goals, we've decided to rework a lot of what we do.

We are currently interviewing for a Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement. This position will have oversight of our already-strong Career Network program, and will also oversee two new staff positions: one for affinity programs (which includes class identity activities with students, reunions, and working with various interest groups that might cross the generations), and the second for regional programs in order to increase opportunities for alumni to connect based on their geographic location. We're all excited that Kim Burris, an office veteran with whom many of you have worked, will be taking on the regional programs position, and we are accepting applications for the other opening.

The next change is a new title and enhanced role for Erik Schmidt '05, who will be our director for advancement communications. Erik will continue to serve as editor for the Alumni Association's magazine, The Scene, but will take on a greater role of working across the Advancement division to coordinate and hone communications to our constituents. In addition, he is also tasked with creating lifelong-education opportunities for alumni as we seek to enhance our goal of providing lifelong value to our alumni.

Erik is also currently seeking to fill an existing communications support position (now reporting to him in his enhanced role), which is currently staffed by Alex Paraskevas, whose talents we will be applied elsewhere in the Advancement operation.

Jim Booth '64, our beloved former alumni director, will continue to run our travel programs. And finally, Cathy Gaskin L'02, the associate director of alumni relations for the College of Law, will now organizationally be a part of the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations in an effort to ensure that we take a global view of our alumni population from all of our schools.

Is all of this crucial to your life as an alumnus or parent? Maybe. Is it important to me that our office treats its audiences frankly and openly, keeping them abreast of relevant campus conversations? Absolutely.

Here's to great times together down the road.

James L. Lippincott
Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Parent Relations