College of Optometry alumna Christine Thuy Tien Pham, OD ’13, presented the WesternYOU Webinar “Red Eyes in a Time of Emergency.”

The WesternU Alumni Association reached new heights in alumni engagement through its Alumni Mentor Program and via fun, unique virtual events and activities in 2020-21.

The pandemic caused University Advancement to recalibrate its strategy and tactics along with WesternU’s strategic priorities. With almost the entire department working 100% from home the entire year, University Advancement’s focus became all things virtual and digital.

“We concentrated on meeting the needs of our students, alumni, donors, and prospects and engaging them in a safe manner,” said WesternU Senior Vice President for University Advancement Diane M. Abraham, PhD, MBA, CFRE. “We continued to pivot from our ‘bread and butter’ initiatives like signature events, corporate sponsorships, and gifts-in-kind to deeply engaging alumni and individual donors in the life and mission of WesternU and involve them in the successes of our students and faculty.”

Sazerac (and his owner, Library Assistant II Ryan Tickle, MLIS, MA) won first place in the Ugly Sweater Contest Pet Edition.

The new virtual environment was met with an array of new activities for alumni and friends, including webinars, networking mixers, cooking demonstrations, a paint night, a book club, a mentorship program, and more, that allowed University Advancement to connect with 4,032 alumni this past fiscal year, 37% more than the previous year.

The Office of Alumni Relations also established an alumni e-newsletter and launched the Alumni Leadership Board with volunteer leaders and committees now meeting monthly. All this activity was created in an effort to increase engagement with WesternU alumni and friends. Among this past year’s activities was a three-part series of estate planning webinars held at the end of the fiscal year that will relaunch our planned giving efforts in the coming year.

A sampling of virtual University Advancement events in the past year:

December 2020: Alumni Association Mentor Committee Meet and Greet, WesternU Webinar: Fun Conversations around the Holidays, Ugly Sweater Contest Pet Edition.

March/April 2021: Alumni Mentor Program launched, Physical Therapy Virtual Reunion, Oregon PT Retention – Mix and Mingle, and Estate Planning Webinars, a three-part series funded by a $10,000 California Endowment grant supporting the strategic alliance between WesternU and Claremont Graduate University.

College of Health Sciences Department of Physical Therapy Education reunion.