“We are graduating more Chinese students now than ever before and it’s important that we find a way to keep them engaged with Centre College for the rest of their lives—not just while they are on campus or living in the U.S.,” Director of Alumni & Family Engagement Megan Milby said.
Centre College recently hosted its first Centre-in-China alumni and parent event on March 23, in Beijing, to kick-off alumni engagement in the country.
“Our goal was to bring the same sense of continued community and strong college ties our local and national alumni access to those members of our community who live outside of our traditional reaches,” International Student Advisor Stephen Swan said.
“It is our hope that this small gathering will serve as a catalyst for further growth in our international alumni network—whether that be Chinese and international students and parents in their home countries or expats working or studying abroad,” he continued.
A collection of former students, parents and representatives from Centre were at the event to reconnect with the College and connect with each other.
“Centre now has many accomplished and motivated alumni from China and we want to strengthen the alumni network here,” Associate Professor of Psychology Jennifer Goetz said.
“By hosting an event in Beijing, we are able to connect with former students who have moved back and also help alumni to exchange information, job opportunities and generally support each other and keep in touch,” she continued.
Both Goetz and Swan were able to see former students they worked closely with at Centre, and it gave them the opportunity to see how the College has impacted their lives since graduating.
“The highlight for me was to see my former advisee and psychology students Kunhan Tang ’17,” Goetz added. “I learned so much from talking with her and the other alumni about how the transition back home has gone, what aspects of their Centre experience stuck with them and the advice they would give to new international students coming to Centre.”
For Swan, it was rewarding for him to meet parents of the students, most of whom have never been to Centre, and share with them the culture of the College and assure them the commitment to their child’s success.
“This diverse group of people (faculty, staff, students and parents) sharing together their affinity for the College was emotionally and professionally rewarding,” he added. “It was very clear that evening that Centre is a special place.”
Swan said that he hopes to see more of these events come together, as they are multi-dimensional in how they serve Centre and its community—from admissions to alumni and every office in between.
“Centre has become and will continue to be a place with a global focus,” Milby said. “We are preparing students for lives of leadership not only in the U.S. but around the world. It is very important that the alumni engagement program continues to grow and find ways to engage Centre alumni everywhere.
“Centre in Beijing was a turning point for the program and has provided a solid foundation for growing alumni engagement in China,” she concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
April 3, 2018