It's a new tradition that could soon catch on - as 33 of Lander University's staff showed up April 18 at the school's alumni employee breakfast.
Held in the Dawson Room of the Lander Dining Hall, the breakfast honored Lander alumni, who are also employees, during Alumni Appreciation Week.
"This is the third year the Alumni Association has held an event to honor our alumni who serve on faculty and staff at Lander," said Debbie Dill, '90, assistant director of Alumni Affairs. "Currently, we have about 159 graduates who work for Lander in a number of different capacities, and this breakfast was a nice way for them to connect with one another and for the association to show appreciation for their service to our Alma Mater."
Among the attendees, ranging from class years 1976-2016, were Rebecca Fernandez '76, education professor; Myra Greene '78, director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving; Jason Lee '00, associate professor of Biology; Taylor Johnston '07, assistant registrar; and Sarah Parks '15, academic success advisor.
Many commented that their positions, locations and job duties have altered or grown considerably over time.
"A lot has changed here since I graduated," said Robin Lawrence '96, director and CIO of Information Technology Services. "We started with one mainframe and four employees in the early 2000s, and now we have 16 employees in IT and so many more different computer systems and servers."
Rodney Jones '08 added that in just the four years he has been a counselor in the Financial Aid office, his job and career have already taken some unexpected turns.
"I didn't think it would be a career - I originally wanted to work with the Department of Juvenile Justice, but an admissions counselor position opened up here," Jones said. "I eventually went from being an on-the-road recruiter to managing a lot of in-house tasks, and I'm responsible for bringing in some of the 650 freshmen students each year, and I'm anticipating that number to go up."
If the alumni employee breakfast is any indication, then the number of participants in future alumni appreciation weeks will likely go up as well.
"I thought having a breakfast this year was a great idea," said Caleb Polatty '12, tutoring coordinator with the Academic Success Center. "It's always a great time to socialize and encourage other alumni who are working to make Lander better each and every day."