Yolanda Rodriguez-Ingle was in Zurich, Switzerland to attend the University of San Diego’s annual European Alumni Reunion weekend in late June when she noticed one particular group of people talking and laughing. Together at the table were a handful of LLM (Master of Laws) graduates from the USD School of Law’s class of 1996.
“They were laughing, having a good time, and it was as if they were still in school,” said Ingle, senior director for USD’s Office of International Constituent Relations. “That’s what these reunions are all about. They’d not seen each other since graduation, but they were sure enjoying themselves like it was 1996.”
Shortly before the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year, USD Alumni Relations Director Charles Bass and Center for Community-Service Learning (CSL) Director Chris Nayve, a triple USD alumnus (BA, JD, MBA), organized a 12-person alumni trip to New Orleans.
“This was a pilot project that involved alumni who had participated on past New Orleans immersion trips as USD students. While some alumni and staff began the trip as strangers, a strong bond was formed, enhanced by the shared USD experience,” Bass said. “The trip involved cultural, spiritual, educational and even gastronomical exploration. Perhaps the most meaningful times were those spent in community at the Duchesne House, led by Sisters Mary Pat, Maureen and Anne, and in reflections led by alumni.”
“When we walk across the stage on graduation day to receive our diplomas, the relationship with USD doesn’t end,” said Associate Director of Alumni Relations’ Kara Marsh Proffitt ’04. “Staying connected to our alma mater and its network of alumni provides us the opportunity to build personal and professional connections, to reconnect with our college classmates and to give back to the place that gave so much to many.”
University of San Diego alumni live in every state in the nation and in nearly 100 countries around the world. “With our 23 domestic regional and four international chapters, there are plenty of opportunities to build connections and re-engage with USD,” Marsh Proffitt added.
Events this summer, for instance, the fifth annual USD Wine Classic on July 14 or the Aug. 4 Alumni Day at the Races at the Del Mar Race Track, offer alumni the chance to enjoy a fun atmosphere, entertainment and catch up with classmates. At last year’s event at Del Mar, part of the fun was watching the fifth race of the day (see photo, right).
There are several events, too, that don’t require alumni to come to San Diego or even to the campus. As the New Orleans and Zurich events demonstrate, Toreros are everywhere.
Nayve liked how School of Leadership and Education Sciences Professor Mary McDonald described CSL’s work in the community. “She said they’re relationship hubs, with the idea being that we expand the boundaries of USD and San Diego to all of the areas we go.”
David Pyke, Dean of the School of Business Administration, publishes entries on his Dean’s Blog, including a few from the Zurich event. The blog is a great chance to read what’s happening in the business school, find out what research that faculty members — especially alumni favorites — are doing, or seeing which Torero alum he’s visited, whether it’s in San Diego, outside California or in another country.
Attending a USD alumni event — whether it’s a happy hour, a panel discussion, a meeting with USD faculty or administrators, networking, or attending a USD football tailgate party — is a wonderful way for Toreros to always be part of the USD family.
— Ryan T. Blystone
Photos courtesy of Arnaud Haefelin (top), Chris Nayve (middle) and Brittan Trozzi