ZOOM REUNION Pictured: Alumni from the Social-Organizational Psychology program came together over video chat in April 2020.
Photo credit: Jay Sharma (M.A. '16)
During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing lent even greater urgency to the Office of Alumni Relations’ mission to foster a sense of global community.
Early in the year (how long ago that seems!), we hosted nine in-person events, including two microaggression workshops led by Professor Derald Wing Sue in California and an alumni book discussion on campus. President Thomas Bailey and Provost Stephanie Rowley also traveled around the country to catch up with alumni in their home cities.
As the pandemic hit, our monthly Alumni Career Development Webinar Series continued presenting expert alumni speakers on inclusive leadership, leading virtual teams, rethinking change management and other topics that have become even more important in this challenging new time. Our virtual programming was enriched by alumni presenters who taught their audiences to cook with ingredients from their “pandemic pantries,” introduced them to hand lettering, led them in guided meditations, discussed wealth management, and much more.
We are proud that attendance at our virtual events increased by 60 percent over the prior year, proving that even when physically apart, the TC alumni community stands together.
In a year that challenged the health of our society on every level, Alumni Relations' programming spoke to the issues uppermost on the minds of TC graduates. Two examples stand out:
Academic Festival: Access, Equity & Justice for All. TC's first-ever virtual homecoming proudly featured faculty, students and alumni speakers whose expertise in education, psychology, health and leadership uniquely equipped them to lead conversations about the pandemic, systemic racism in America and other issues of social justice. Their thought-provoking and intellectually nourishing presentations addressed a range of topics, from LGBTQ rights in Chechnya to changing the conditions that breed gun violence in underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods. Alumni and friends from Brazil, India, Mexico, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Chile and other nations tuned in to watch. “It’s understandable if you’re thinking, ‘Let’s just get through the election and this horrible pandemic,’” TC President Thomas Bailey told viewers. “But here’s the flaw with that line of reasoning: None of the serious problems facing us today suddenly surfaced in 2020 on their own. Each one was many years or decades in the making, and none of them will be solved overnight.” [Read full coverage of the event and watch the panel discussions at our dedicated Academic Festival 2020 website.]
Interest in the management of personal wealth has redoubled of late, reflecting the precariousness of the U.S. economy but also a desire to create a better world. “More and more people want to support diversity and inclusion and have more of an impact strategy for their investing,” said Myah Moore Irick (M.A. ’06), who heads her own private wealth management team, The Irick Group, within Merrill Private Wealth Management, in a webcast discussion about wealth management with TC Trustee Charles Desmond. The two speakers concurred on the importance of one particular asset — or, in the words of Desmond, who heads the nonprofit Inversant, which empowers low- and moderate-income families to invest and to succeed in higher education: “Early investments in your children’s lives are the best ones you’ll ever make.” [Read a story about the webinar.]
President Thomas Bailey continued his tour of the United States that began in 2019, meeting alumni in Denver, Napa Valley and Palm Beach. At each event, he spoke about his plans for the College and listened to alumni’s ideas for building an even stronger version of TC.
Provost Stephanie Rowley embarked on her own regional tour to meet alumni and share her vision for preparing TC students to succeed. Stops included Rochester, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, D.C. and Miami.
Though physically apart, members of TC's alumni community connected in spirit through the Office of Alumni Relations' virtual programming. See some of the events below and visit our Alumni Career Development page and Virtual Event Archive for more.
Inclusive Leadership is a critical skill integral to creating workplaces that are equitable and fostering a culture of belonging. But what does it mean to lead inclusively? In this webinar, Lois Jeffers (M.A. '13) presents the key traits of inclusive leaders, the roadblocks to leading inclusively, and how to develop a personal roadmap to activating inclusive leadership in the workplace.
Is COVID-19 creating culinary challenges for you and your family? Grocery stores are limited, and our access to them is disrupted. Join Stefanie Sacks (M.S. '03), CNS, CDN, Culinary Nutritionist and author of What the Fork Are You Eating?, to make the most out of the current state of your pantry. Whether it’s a head of cauliflower, frozen peas, a can of some kind of beans, frozen fish or chicken thighs, workable solutions are explored in this one-hour interactive demo and discussion.
Leading a team can be both rewarding and challenging. Doing it when your team is not physically together brings new hurdles, especially without training during the new normal of the COVID pandemic. This Alumni Career Development Webinar, presented by Bonnie Davis (M.A. '97), explores the opportunities and challenges of working remotely and offers strategies for developing a personalized action plan for leading a higher-performing virtual team.
We welcome all TC alumni to become more involved with the College and your peers in 2021 by joining the Alumni Associate Volunteer Program!