News Pulse - State University of New York at New Paltz

Alumni Affairs links New Paltz graduates


Diane McCarthy, left, and Rayna Wendell, director of the Alumni Affairs office.

The Alumni Affairs office is a one-stop shop for graduates looking to reconnect with their alma mater.

“ We connect alumni to the campus and each other,” says Rayna Wendell, director of Alumni Affairs at SUNY New Paltz.

Wendell and her staff utilize a database of more than 53,000 alumni to maintain these connections. Diane McCarthy, keyboard specialist, maintains the database, keeping the information up-to-date.

Alumni can support the institution in a variety of ways, including financial contributions, mentoring students, providing internships, or hosting foreign exchange students. Of course, says Wendell, the best thing a graduate can do is spread the word about New Paltz.

The office also connects students, staff and faculty with alumni. A woman studying in China contacted Alumni Affairs to find fellow alumni studying in the area that she could connect with. New Paltz often has graduates return to give presentations on campus. Tao Jie ’81 recently spoke about how her New Paltz education prepared her for teaching English in Beijing.

“ The alumni always love to speak with current students,” says Wendell. “And it shows students what they can aspire to.”

The office maintains that students stay connected with the alumni and have work-study students and interns help out. Currently, intern Regina Martinez; and work-study students Francis Donkor, Ying Si Zhang and Andrea Powell all work in the office. Alumni Affairs also puts old friends back in touch. Former students can locate their roommates or favorite professor by contacting the office.

A highlight of the year is Reunion Weekend, which takes place the third week of October. Wendell says she hears the coolest stories about off-campus haunts like Pat and George’s (now known as P&G’s) and Mohonk or campus traditions such as Lantern Night and Moving Up Day at these weekends.

Almost 44,000 New Paltz alumni reside in 48 states and around the world. Wendell says that reunions have attracted graduates from as far as Washington State and Hawaii. And a connectio to New Paltz doesn’t have to be made on campus. Throughout the year, Wendell attends a number of reunions held in locations such as Florida. She says that these graduates have more of a need to reconnect with the blue and orange.

“ The farther away they are, the more fond memories they have,” Wendell says. “New Paltz is everything to them.”

Story and photo by Kristin Charles

FEBRUARY 27, 2006
Volume 4, Issue 4

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News Pulse is published every other week for the faculty and staff of SUNY New Paltz by the Office of Public Affairs. It is printed in-house on recycled paper.

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