First Annual Leadership Summit Energizes and Engages Alumni

By Purnell T. Cropper | October 21, 2011

Nearly 100 alumni attended the first-ever Alumni Leadership Summit on Saturday, Oct. 15, to help Arcadia University to energize and engage with its more than 20,000 alumni.

“In so many ways, the future of Arcadia lies in the hands, hearts and minds of our alumni,” says President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III. “Having had life-changing experiences here, they know better than anyone else the excellence of the education we are providing—and having themselves benefited when they were students from the philanthropy and engagement of alumni before them, they understand how important it is for them now to step up.” View photos.

At the Summit, participants were tasked with four major goals:

  • To come to Arcadia and experience the excitement and energy that now enlivens the campus.
  • To meet President Oxholm, come to understand his vision,  and get energized for the journey that lies ahead.
  • To help identify ways to engage alumni and build connections and energy for the future.
  • To help alumni support and grow the Alumni Association through leadership training.

Throughout the day, participants began to tackle these goals, while discussing the true scope of what alumni have to offer to today’s students and faculty, and the many different ways that alumni can meaningfully contribute to the University through their time, talent and treasure. Many new ideas were generated, including ways to more effectively communicate with constituents as well as programming that would give students and alumni more opportunities to interact. The importance of leadership development and engaging with the local community also was stressed in addition to the creation of affinity groups and regional chapters of alumni.

“I was honestly surprised and thrilled to have so many alumnae and alumni give us a whole day, coming early and staying late, and helping us think through how we can do a better job engaging alumni with our campus life today. The energy they brought to the discussions was renewing for us, and the ideas they proposed and started to develop will provide the path by which we can keep stepping up in quality and international recognition,” says President Oxholm.

“The day felt like a true homecoming, a gathering of our Beaver College and Arcadia University family,” adds Georgene Pilling ’04M, Director of Alumni Relations. “We had Class Officers, Committee and Chapter Chairs, Alumni Board and Task Force members, and University Trustees. They came from across the country and represented 60 years of alumni, from the Class of 1941 to the Class of 2011.”

The day ended with a singing of the alma mater (watch video) and a unanimous vote to hold another Summit next fall. Those who attended also hoped even more classes would get involved next year in the exciting work of helping to lead Arcadia to its next level.

As for next steps, the Alumni Office will be distributing notes and materials to all invited leaders who were not able to attend, and also structuring ways for alumni to continue developing the ideas and projects that were identified on Saturday. If you are interested in becoming an Alumni Leader to help advance the University during this transformational time, please contact Georgene Pilling at or 215-572- 2946.