Young Alumni See Return on Fordham Investment Extend Well Beyond Four Years on Campus
By Jennifer Spencer
Meaghan Doherty, FCLC '09
Four years at Fordham can fly by more quickly than anyone might imagine. The classes, friendships, summer internships, and extracurricular opportunities so fill the months and years that they are done in a flash.
But Fordham alumni and the alumni relations team encourage students that even as graduation looms, their connection to Fordham has really only just begun.
"I always remind parents to think about the value aspect of a Fordham education," said Timothy Dinneen, FCRH '08, and alumni relations officer for young alumni and student initiatives.
"It sounds overly practical to say, but those four years of tuition don't pay for just four years. They really pay for a lifetime connection to Fordham," he said.
Michael Griffin, assistant vice president for alumni relations, said that making a choice to be involved—on any level—after graduation is a powerful way for alumni to stay involved in the community that distinguishes Fordham University.
"The student will always be a part of Fordham, and Fordham will, in some ways, define who the student is for the rest of their lives. Both parties have an interest in making sure that this is a very positive meaningful, relationship," Griffin said.
Meaghan Doherty, FCLC '09, said serving as a part of the Young Alumni Committee was a natural extension of her involvement on various committees and deans' councils during her time at Fordham.
Through her work as the chair of the professional development subcommittee, Doherty said she has enjoyed seeing a wide variety of her friends from Fordham days become involved as alumni.
"For me, being a student of the world in NYC, and knowing other young people who wanted to embrace the world, meant a lot to me," Doherty said.
"After graduation it is extraordinarily important to consider the Fordham network not only in NYC but abroad. I got my first job as a result of a Fordham connection."
Dinneen said the involvement of young alumni at events has increased substantially in recent years, citing a three-fold increase in participants in social events like an alumni yacht cruise as well as alumni mentoring programs.
While recent graduates may shy away from alumni involvement thinking it only means "financial contribution," Dinneen said that any level of involvement is an important way for students to start thinking about making the most of their Fordham education, before and after graduation day.
"Giving back in any form, whether through time, treasure, or talent, allows alumni to stay in touch with this community of people who are committed to Fordham," he said.
In addition to staying connected professionally and socially, Griffin said that as students make a commitment to become involved young alumni, they are helping build the value of their Fordham degree.
"That Fordham degree is something that you carry with you, and you have an interest in making sure the value of it will rise," Griffin said.
"Fordham can't advance its standing in the world amongst institutes of higher learning without alumni support, advocacy, and leadership," he said.
Tyler Reinagel, FCRH '07.
When Tyler Reinagel, FCRH '07, moved back home to Georgia to start his graduate work after Fordham, finding a community of alumni who understood his experience at Fordham was as important to him personally as it was professionally.
The alumni community in the Atlanta area was relatively small when he arrived. Reinagel volunteered to head up the local alumni association chapter and managed to double the amount of participants in a year.
"We have a group of people here who are embracing that reality that Fordham is a national university," Reinagel said.
Through a number of cookouts and social events each year, the Georgia alumni community have developed social and professional connections that transcend age or field, but hinge a love and understanding for alma mater.
"I walked away from Fordham feeling that it got me to where I am today," he said.
"If you can find people who understand the value of what a Jesuit education is, take it and run with it."