From IWU Magazine, Winter 2015-16

Rowe brings synergy to alumni engagement

"Alumni relations and the Wesleyan Fund go hand in hand," says Rowe (shown above).

Jodi Rowe was named IWU’s assistant vice president of alumni engagement. Formerly Blackburn College’s executive director of annual giving and alumni affairs, Jodi brings seven years of alumni relations and annual-giving experience to the new position. 

“I am quite pleased that we were able to find a candidate with Jodi’s breadth of experience in both alumni relations and fundraising,” said IWU’s Vice President for Advancement Marty Smith. “By combining our Alumni Office and the Wesleyan Fund under her leadership, we’ll create greater synergy in the work we do engaging our alumni.”

Rowe began her career at Blackburn in 2008 as manager of alumni relations and became director of annual giving in 2011. She was named executive director, overseeing both areas in 2014. In this position, she had a broad range of responsibilities including the annual fund campaign, coordination of internal fundraising, alumni events and reunions and overseeing the Phon-a-Thon program.

Jodi earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Blackburn College in 2004 and her master’s in higher education administration from McKendree University in 2014. She has also taken courses in fundraising management at The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.

We caught up with Jodi at the Hansen Student Center to ask her about her new job:

From your perspective and experience, how do alumni relations and the Wesleyan Fund relate to one another? How can each one make the other stronger?

Alumni relations and the Wesleyan Fund go hand in hand; each lays the foundation for a successful advancement program and engage each other to create a fulfilling alumni experience with the institution.

Do you see similarities between Blackburn and IWU?

There is something really special about the relationships that are fostered at private liberal arts colleges; the involvement of the students, faculty and staff builds a community that remains intact beyond the campus and commencement day.  Blackburn and IWU are very similar in that regard.

What are your priorities starting out?

Currently I am getting to know the team and the Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as learning a lot about the culture of IWU. This time spent is helping to develop a comprehensive plan to fully integrate the two offices into the Office of Alumni Engagement. Our team is my greatest asset to making this merger a success. Van Miller (Wesleyan Fund director) and Adriane Powell (Alumni Relations director) will continue in their traditional roles; the merger will effect more of how we plan and communicate.

I have long admired Illinois Wesleyan and look forward to getting to know alumni and friends in the weeks and months ahead.

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