One of the true joys of the college experience is the friends you make along the way. Classmates enhance the celebrations, commiserate about the challenges, inform and expand the education of the journey toward a degree. At NAU, we believe that camaraderie should not be limited just to our students’ time on campus.
So, we are taking our alumni experience to them, providing fun opportunities to connect with each other and share their love of helping others, professionally networking, trying new adventures, and – of course! – cheering for NAU athletics.
Our graduates are a vital part of the communities where they live and work. Their unique NAU experience gives them a common ground on which to build strong ties that enhance their professional and personal accomplishments. In Coconino County, there are 15,000 NAU alumni that add to the vitality of our Northern Arizona communities. We have stepped up our alumni engagement here, providing more opportunities for local Lumberjack alumni to connect and celebrate their ties to each other, and to the university. In turn, this enhances NAU’s ties to the economy and culture of Flagstaff. A strong and engaged alumni base is essential for a strong institution.
Recent data from the Arizona Department of Economic Security shows that collectively, NAU graduates since 1990 working in Arizona earned more than $3.5 billion in calendar year 2016. In the first full year of employment after earning an NAU graduate degree, our alumni saw an increase of more than 15 percent in their median wages over what a similar graduate degree holder earned just four years ago. And more of our graduates are immediately finding work after their time at NAU: More than 82 percent of the Arizona residents who graduated from NAU with a bachelor’s degree in 2016 were employed in our state that year – a new record for post-graduation employment rates.
Our “NAU Near You” alumni chapters reach our graduates no matter where that economic success takes them. These chapters represent one of many new commitments we are making to bring relevant and compelling alumni engagement programming to where our alumni live and work, starting with a focus on bringing the spirit and mission of NAU. Thanks to our chapters’ alumni volunteers and their generous service of back to their alma mater, chapters now exist in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Prescott and Portland, and this summer we will launch our D.C. Alumni Chapter. We have plans for alumni chapters in Yuma, Denver, Dallas and San Diego.
It is alumnae like Linda Theriault of Flagstaff and Katherine Anderson of Prescott that make this program special. Theriault, a retired teacher, wanted to meet other alumni and feel more connected to her alma mater, so she volunteered to serve as the leader of the Flagstaff Alumni Chapter. Anderson, a 2004 graduate from our online degree program, volunteers as an event planner for the Prescott Alumni Chapter so she can give back to the university that gave her so much.
Our 162,000 Lumberjack graduates are the best evidence of NAU’s success. Our alumni are our brand. We are proud of their generosity and commitment to the world around them, and we are excited to strengthen the ties that connect Lumberjacks near and far.
If you would like to be involved with our alumni outreach, join – or start – an alumni chapter near you! You can reach us at nau.edu/alumni, or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. FBN
By Rita Cheng