From the President’s Desk
A quarterly letter to our readers from IWU President Eric Jensen
(From IWU Magazine, WINTER 2016-17)
I’m writing this note on a trip to Arizona. Elizabeth and I have been visiting alumni,
and there are quite a few of you here. How many, you ask? There are so many Chicagoans
here that Portillo’s has come to Arizona. Where there are Illinoisans, there of course
are Titans, and we had a good turnout at the Phoenix Alumni Connection. The attendees
had a chance to meet our new Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing, LeAnn Hughes.
Wayne Messmer ’72 and his wife, Kathleen, opened the meeting with a wonderful “Star-Spangled
Banner,” followed by “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Wayne graciously allowed us to
fill in any team name we might choose at the “root, root, root for…” part of the song.
I’ll confess that I substituted “White Sox” for “Cubbies.”
Now that we are in our second year of these visits, Elizabeth and I have the great
pleasure of reconnecting with people we’ve met. We were welcomed warmly everywhere
we went on our first visits, and it’s wonderful to feel that same warmth again. It’s
also good to be able to reconnect with individual alums about their particular interests
and to talk about how those line up with IWU’s needs. We’re working on systematizing
some of that.
An important component of that effort is our obtaining your help in recruiting new
students. Many of the schools with which we compete for students use alumni for in-person
interviews, telephone calls and other direct contact. One of LeAnn Hughes’ areas of
emphasis is to ensure that we recruit in ways that “out-personalize” our competition.
Her office, in collaboration with Alumni Relations, will be sending you a survey in
the near future about what roles you might want to play in that effort. I’ve spoken
at several alumni gatherings about the importance in recruiting of personal contacts
from alumni. We value your assessment of the students, but honestly, it is the chance
to show off our happy and successful alums to prospective students that we find the
most exciting element of this effort. Thank you in advance for your help
It will be an exciting few weeks when we return to campus. Mona Hanna-Attisha, one
of Time’s 100 most influential people for 2016 as a result of her work on the Flint,
Michigan water system, speaks for Founders’ Day. This will be followed by a Stevenson
lecture by Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico. These kind of opportunities
are truly special for students.