Mark Hoekstra ’86 follows the successful tenure of Maureen Partynski ’81 as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He also serves on USD’s Emerging Leaders Council and the Burnham – Moores Center for Real Estate’s Commercial Real Estate Committee. He is managing partner of the Heritage Group, a commercial real estate and investment advisory firm in San Diego.
Dear Fellow Alumni,
As the grandson of Ernest W. Hahn, a USD trustee emeritus, my connection to the University of San Diego started before I was a student here. During my days at Alcalá Park, I was active in my fraternity, Sigma Chi. I formed deep friendships and I learned skills and lessons that are vital to the work I do. I have no shortage of fond memories of those years.
But after I graduated, I turned my attention toward building my career and my family. I didn’t give much thought to USD and I didn’t step foot on campus for 20 years. I was one of you, one of the many of you who graduated from USD, went on your way and didn’t look back.
Let’s look at just a few of the numbers and you can do the math. As a group, USD alumni are 60,000 strong. Of those, about 16 percent are connected on Facebook, just over 4 percent attended last year’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, about 1.2 percent were active volunteers and about 13 percent made financial contributions to the university.
So as you can see, that means most of us aren’t involved. We’re not connected. We’re not joiners. We’re not donors. We’re not even friends with USD on Facebook.
And I was just like you. But that all changed.
I joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2006, looking for ways to network and hoping to find out more about the admissions process for my daughters, who weren’t too far off from high school graduation. The following year, I was chair of the finance committee and, when the board started talking about its annual goals, I suggested we commit to raising $1 million for Alumni Endowed Scholarships. It seemed like a lofty goal. But I like to think big. And I knew we could do it. From that idea the Wine Classic was established and, in 2012, we reached our $1 million goal.
So take it from me when I say that it’s never too late. Whether you graduated two years ago or two decades ago, it’s not too late to come back. It’s not too late to make a difference.
There are countless ways to be involved with our alma mater. You can Take a Torero to Lunch. You can network with other alumni at one of our many campus events or regional gatherings across the country and around the world. You can cheer on the Toreros at a football game in Torero Stadium, at a basketball or volleyball game in the Jenny Craig Pavilion or a baseball game at USD’s new Fowler Park. And yes, you can make a financial contribution.
So, let’s give ourselves another challenge. I was just like you. Now I’m challenging you to be like me — and all those other alumni in our earlier math equation. Be involved. Get connected. Be a joiner. Be a donor.
And, yes, “like” the USD Alumni Association page on Facebook.
Why should you take action? Because more alumni supporting USD will actually increase the value of our degrees, not to mention helping all those Toreros who follow us.
— Mark Hoekstra ’86
Alumni Association Board President
Proud parent of a USD alumna