Enriching the alumni experience at Boise State University is one of our top priorities. By building stronger, lifelong ties with our alumni and graduates, we can engage and unleash a passion that has extraordinary potential for the future of this university.
We know that, as a group, our living graduates and alumni are relatively young – a majority attended or graduated from Boise State since 1990. As a result, they have much of their professional career still in front of them. And with each new semester and commencement ceremony, their ranks swell, giving them even greater potential for impacting the future direction and success of their alma mater.
As part of our effort to build an increasingly robust alumni experience and network, we recently conducted a survey to gauge our graduates’ perspectives about Boise State and their preferred involvement with the university.
What we found was that Boise State alumni have an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward the university and the value of the education they received here – and that their affinity and respect grows as time goes by. Of course, the results showed that our successful athletic programs are a big part of alumni identity. The survey also revealed that alumni feelings about the university are closely tied to a specific college, academic program or, even, a particular faculty member.
The survey also told us that alumni are deeply interested in career-related opportunities for engagement such as networking, seminars and other services that build on their connections to the university and their fellow alumni through the lens of their work. This isn’t a surprising result, given the large number of alumni still in the relatively early stages of their careers and work lives.
From a philanthropic perspective, the survey gave us very interesting insight as well. Overwhelmingly, our alumni agree with our current focus on building private support for student scholarships – the university’s greatest need and top philanthropic priority. However, despite their positive attitude toward Boise State and their support of raising money for student scholarships, Boise State alumni, generally, do not currently make philanthropic giving to their alma mater a priority at the levels seen at other universities around the nation.
So, what does all of this mean? It means that the full weight of our alumni influence and impact on this university will grow in the years ahead. Already we’re working on developing fun, meaningful ways for alumni to engage career-related discussions, enrichment and networking. We’re working with our college deans and others on campus to find ways to create more active interaction between alumni, their former academic programs and their favorite faculty members. And increasingly, you’ll be hearing more from us about exactly how important consistent, regular giving to Boise State at all levels transforms the lives and campus experience of our students.
In the end, there is no question that all who attended Boise State are crucial to the future success of this university. As we listen to their feedback and, accordingly, create more meaningful opportunities for them to be part of the Boise State community and experience, their role as the university’s greatest ambassadors, most constructive critics and most important philanthropic partners will grow as well.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.