Alumni Engagement and Support Spell Success for Students

Fall 2017 Issue

Our alumni play a key role in the success of Susquehanna and our students. They strengthen the SU community with their service, advice, student recommendations, school spirit and monetary donations. And as the university’s reputation grows through alumni support, so too does the value of a Susquehanna degree.


The 2016-17 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, was Susquehanna’s most successful fundraising year ever.

New major gift commitments included:

  • $7.1 million to establish the new Susquehanna University Service Leaders program, which supports community service organizations by providing them with dedicated, trained student volunteers.
  • $1.3 million, raised by more than 1,000 Susquehannans, to establish a permanent, endowed scholarship fund honoring Susquehanna’s 14th president, L. Jay Lemons, and his wife, Marsha.
  • Nearly $500,000 from the Sherman Fairchild foundation for a suite of new science equipment.
  • Bequests and estate commitments totaling $2.2 million in support of scholarships, student-faculty collaborative research, student life programs, career and professional preparation for students, our signature Global Opportunities (GO) program and more.

“These are remarkable investments and endorsements of the meaningful work we do to prepare students for lives of achievement, leadership and service,” said President Jonathan D. Green when the news was announced on Aug. 1.

Annual cash donations to Susquehanna included nearly $64,000 from 304 alumni on #GivingTuesday, the international fundraising day following Thanksgiving; and more than $43,000 from 491 alumni for the annual, month long 30 Donors in 30 Days campaign.

All told, the university received gifts from 2,351 Susquehanna graduates–an increase of 300 from the previous year and 500 from two years earlier.


Overall, more than 4,500 alumni engaged with Susquehanna in some fashion during the year, from participating in career andjob-related activities with students, to new-student recruitment and retention efforts, to community service and event attendance.

Highlights include our Break Through programming, for which hundreds of alumni volunteered their time to share their experience and career advice with students. The program included fall “career treks”–free, daylong bus trips to visit alumni at their workplaces and attend student-alumni networking receptions in Philadelphia and New York City. In all, nearly 70 students and more than 100 alumni participated, including 30 graduates who hosted small student groups at their places of employment.

Additionally, 100 alumni returned to campus in February for the annual Break Through student-alumni networking conference attended by 552 students.

Other activities that supported student success in 2016-17 were connected to the Champions for Growth Alumni Engagement Program, which yielded:

  • 710 business cards for a campus display of what’s possible with a Susquehanna education.
  • 134 student referrals to our admission office.
  • 81,880 service hours to 872 community organizations, demonstrating our longstanding tradition of service.
  • 212 photos of how Susquehannans demonstrate their Orange and Maroon pride.

Additionally, alumni engaged with students by:

  • Writing welcome notes to the Class of 2021.
  • Hosting job-shadowing opportunities for students.
  • Returning to campus for classroom visits.
  • Attending welcome events for President Green and his wife, Ms. Lynn Buck.
  • And much, much more.

It is engagement activities like these, coupled with annual giving and major gift commitments, that make Susquehanna better, one student experience at a time.

Amanda O’Rourke, digital communications and media specialist; Kelly Bugden ’02 Breckenridge, former manager of alumni, parent and donor communications; and Victoria Kidd, associate director of advancement communications, contributed to this story.

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