With new Alumni Association Council and Office of Alumni and Family Relations leadership this year, the Bulletin sat down with a few questions for AAC President Kyle Samuel ’92 and Alumni and Family Relations Director Tiffany Kelly.
What are some of the developments happening at Colorado College that you are excited about?
Kyle Samuel: Robson Arena and its impact on campus life and in the Colorado Springs community. And changes in Alumni and Family Relations include a new focus on current student engagement, regional events across the U.S., and new programming in the Tutt Alumni House.
Tiffany Kelly: It’s exciting to see a renewed focus on creativity, resiliency, and mindfulness through Innovation at CC. CC is also raising $20 million through Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College for scholarship support to attract more students from lower-and middle-income Colorado families.
How are both of you, through your leadership roles, working together to identify creative and meaningful ways to engage CC alumni no matter where they may live? Can you offer examples of new programming or other changes that will be implemented this academic year?
KS: We have a shared goal of finding exciting new ways to enhance alumni engagement. While new approaches and ideas are being formed on campus, our goal, as the AAC, is to support those efforts.
TK: We’re augmenting alumni relations programming and looking to engage with all alumni and all parents, both on and off campus. We want our constituency to be informed about all that will be happening in their areas. Stay tuned for the creation of a podcast that will feature professors and students not only sharing about their work on campus, but also about the latest topics within the CC community.
What efforts are underway to form alumni connections to one another and to the CC community?
TK: There are a lot of alumni in Colorado Springs and in Denver; we recognize that we need to do a better job of providing programming that is relevant, easy to attend, and available in Denver, as well as in the Springs and on campus. The Career Center has done a wonderful job of bringing a variety of alumni on campus to speak to students, and I want to build upon this to offer more ways for students and alumni to connect and build relationships. Other efforts include reworking the alumni travel program, and being mindful of our young alumni who may only be able to get together for weekend and/or closer-to-home trips. Professors who I have spoken with would like the opportunity to share more of their knowledge through travel programs.
How can alumni be involved at Colorado College?
KS: Join Tiger Link to network and mentor students. Volunteer for reunion activities or to be a regional ambassador. Host an event in your area. Interview prospective families through the Admission Volunteer Program. Learn how you or your business can take part in Career Center initiatives. Join the Collaborative for Community Engagement program. Learn more about the Public Interest Fellowship Program and annual giving.
TK: We want alumni to be engaged more than they have been and in different ways. We’re open to exploring what those ways are that allow all alumni to share their time, passions, and stories. We’ll be rolling out an alumni Instagram account soon.
Tiffany, what appealed to you about assuming your new role as Colorado College’s alumni director?
TK: When I read about the position, I felt it was made for me, a solid match. I like to think that part of my life’s work is about bringing people together for a common purpose. I wholeheartedly support the direction in which CC is heading and feel engaged in and very much a part of advancing the mission. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and engaging in meaningful dialogue with alumni, parents, and friends of the college during the past several months.
Kyle, you have been an alumni leader at CC for years. What drives you to be involved through your new role as AAC president and represent Colorado College’s alumni body?
KS: I’m driven by the amazing education I received at CC, both inside and outside of the classroom. I’m privileged to not only help preserve, but also enhance the CC experience for current and future students.
How does the relationship that students have with Colorado College evolve as they become alumni?
KS: I believe the evolution begins when you encounter professional circumstances that allow you to appreciate the value of the CC experience.
TK: We want to plug in with students during their journey here so they build connections with the institution, as well as with their peers, their professors, and staff. I hope students know that their time on campus is just the beginning of their lifelong journey of which CC will always be a part.
What roles can alumni play for current CC students?
KS: Joining Tiger Link, engaging with the Career Center, and being available to students and recent alumni through as many communication platforms as possible. You can also propose ideas to Tiffany on what those roles may be.
TK: Let us know what you want to see in your area; host an event, let us know when you gather with fellow alumni. Get involved with the Career Center, come back to teach a class, lecture, or serve on a panel. Again, we’re exploring other avenues for more student-alumni engagement like the podcast and more in-person connections.
Family and Friends Weekend and Homecoming — two of the largest events on the Colorado College campus — are coming up this fall. What can parents, families, and alumni expect?
KS: Tiffany will be looking to meet you while you’re on campus! Stop by the Tutt Alumni House to see what’s new, and take a quick survey that will help shape alumni engagement.
TK: We have features planned for both programs including an Afro-Cuban salsa band, a Faces of Innovation panel, the Tava Quad blessing ceremony, affinity group receptions, and a lot more. In the future we look to stay tuned to what our constituents want and to incorporate features into these events that reflect alumni and parent survey feedback.
What other ways are you reaching alumni, parents, and families beyond these on-campus events?
KS: At any given time, there are numerous events happening in cities around the country, so stay tuned to CC coming to a city near you.
TK: We’re in the process of rebuilding our alumni and parent/family webpages in order to make engagement easy and accessible. A podcast is in the works, as well as an alumni Instagram account. In general, there will be a cohesive and intentional strategy in place to ensure that alumni and families can stay informed and are presented with easy opportunities to stay engaged.
How are you thinking about the purpose of Tutt Alumni House differently?
TK: Many students have asked me if they can go into Tutt House and the answer is absolutely yes! It is another place on campus where students are welcome!
It can be used as a place to study, to play the piano, and to gather with student groups. And, of course, it continues to be a place where alumni can visit and hold special gatherings as well. I also see broader uses as part of New Student Orientation, Homecoming, and Family and Friends Weekend. Professors have recently been invited to use it during class time or for a proposed blockly fireside chat series. I’ve even had requests for a hosted mystery dinner for students.
Colorado College is in the midst of Building on Originality, a comprehensive fundraising campaign focusing on securing support for CC scholarships, an Innovation at CC building and programming, and the upcoming on-campus Robson Arena. There’s also a 50 percent alumni participation goal for the campaign. Why should alumni participate?
KS: We have an obligation to give back. I would ask that you consider how you’re giving back to the place that offered a whole new world to you.
TK: CC is so grateful for the enthusiasm and participation level from alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff! I would echo Kyle’s remarks and also just simply encourage alumni to participate for future generations. And remember that participation can happen in many ways and at all levels — each of those ways is critical — and any amount makes a difference.
Kyle, what values did CC impart to you?
KS: Critical thinking, effective communication, and continual learning all serve me incredibly well both personally and professionally.
And, one more, just because: what are you reading now?
KS: “The Soul of America” by Jon Meacham.
TK: “The Good News About Bad Behavior” by Katherine Reynolds Lewis.