From Students to Staff: The Return of the Marist Alumni

It is the first day of freshman year at Marist.  The green is full of students playing games or sunbathing. The river is flowing and sending a cool breeze across campus.  Each building fits perfectly throughout the college grounds. Everything together, the students, the landscape, and the architecture, makes the scene picturesque.  It helps the freshman make amends to going to college and leaving home for the first time.  It allows people to stop and realize that this beautiful campus is going to be their home for the next four years.

            What if you can stay at Marist for more than four years?  You do not have to delay graduation in order to do so.

Many Marist College alumni come back to work for their alma mater.  According to the Alumni Relations office, approximately 218 people of the 800 full and part-time faculty members on campus are alumni.

In the 1970s, when the college became co-ed, the graduating class was in the 200 range.  In more recent years, the graduating classes are around 1,100 undergraduate students.  With the increase came greater communication between the college and the Alumni Association.

Executive Director of Alumni Relations and graduate of Marist Class of ’97 Amy Woods said, “It’s

Amy Woods '97

nice to come back and work here.  You know the history of the college and you get to watch it develop.  It’s a very sought after job.”

According to Woods, working for the nearby colleges is a popular job choice for people in the Hudson River Valley.  Marist College offers opportunities for people with various job majors.  This is helpful for many people, such as Communication majors, who do not want to travel to the city for career opportunities.

Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Michelle Stokes, began as an adult student at Marist in 1999.  She took advantage of the employee education benefits the College offered and decided to pursue a job.

“The faculty and academic administration were so positive and supportive, they encouraged me to continue through the master’s program,” said Stokes. “Even though the institution has grown over the past decade, the family culture has not changed.”

According to Woods, Marist has expanded since she was a student.  Midrise was just being built along with the fitness center.  Even within the past six years, Marist has seen growth with the development of the east side of campus, the tennis courts, and the Hancock Center.  Marist College’s programs and activities have also developed according to the Assistant to the President, Edward Summers.

Edward Summers

“Programs such as the diversity council, LGBT, mosaic events, and international programs have been established,” said Summers.  “We have also been working on making a stronger bond with the Poughkeepsie community.”

Most of the alumni that now work at Marist were involved as students in various activities, along with on-campus jobs.  Many alumni worked in Admissions as students, such as Woods and Associate Director of Admission and graduate of the class of ‘05, Brian Apfel.  Woods went through a 15 credit internship program that Admissions used to offer.  Currently, 10 out of the 11 full-time employees in Admissions are Marist alumni.  It proves that they are proud to support and advertise their school.

According to Apfel, he loved the transition from being a student to working full-time in Admissions.  As a student, Apfel also represented Marist through the Ambassadors program.  He graduated in May 2005 and began working July 2005.  By that time, Apfel already had a lot of experience networking with others.  With a BS in Business Management, Apfel is able to use his marketing skills towards something he enjoys and is passionate about.

“People view Marist as a special place where a lot of us had a great experience,” said Summers. “People want to see it become an even better place.”

Brian Apfel

According to Apfel, most alumni are proud to support Marist, especially now, during its growth spurt. Not only has the campus itself grown, but the academic reputation has skyrocketed.  The geographic diversity of the student body is also increasing; more people across the nation have heard of Marist College than they have in the past.

“A Marist diploma means more to people these days,” said Woods.

“Recent alumni know we’re growing,” said Apfel.  “More people are coming back because they are proud and want to be a part of it; there is a passion for the community.”

Woods said people also tend to return to Marist because it is a comfort zone.  Alumni find it fulfilling to come back and work for their alma mater if they had a good experience in college as a student.

“It is one of the best ways to give back to the institution and help move the college forward,” said Summers.  “Who best to market the college than alumni?”

–Nicole Smith

Click here for more information about our alumni: http://www.marist.edu/alumni/

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