Alumni Relations, Alumni Fund merge into Office of Alumni Engagement

The Alumni Relations and Alumni Fund offices merged into one Office of Alumni Engagement, Vice President of the Office of College Relations (OCR) Megan Morey announced in an email to the OCR on April 6, stating that the change would be effective immediately. Both teams now report to Laura Day ʼ04, who previously oversaw the Alumni Fund office. Brooks Foehl ʼ88, the executive director of Alumni Relations, will work closely with Day “to determine how to best integrate and organize the full complement of talent, expertise, and potential” of the two teams, the email stated.

In her email, Morey stated that the merger will allow the OCR to succeed in its efforts to “ensure and celebrate the involvement and support of all alumni” as well as to “intensify its efforts to help alumni reimagine their connections to the college,” which are both goals outlined in the College’s 2022 Strategic Plan.

The merger also aims to reduce redundancy between the two offices, Morey said in an interview with the Record. “This was an opportunity to think about the nature of communications these days and pull resources together on both sides — Alumni Fund and Alumni Relations — instead of having two people doing the same things in each office,” she said. The decision came about in a changing landscape of alumni engagement. “There’s an alumni network growing — we’re now over 30,000 alumni,” Morey said. “We can’t continue to grow the Alumni Relations Office to have that alumni to Alumni Relations Officer ratio.”

Day, now the assistant vice president (AVP) for alumni engagement, noted in an email to the Record that many peer institutions have also transitioned towards a merged system, which can provide greater insights regarding alumni engagement trends and alumni needs. Carleton, Swarthmore, and Colgate, for example, all organize their alumni relations offices similarly. “These offices are key collaborators, regardless of whether they are in a single vertical on an organizational chart, or in sibling verticals,” she wrote.

When asked about the decision-making process, and particularly the personnel involved in the choice, Morey declined to comment on the individuals with whom she conferred before finalizing the decision to merge the two offices. “There were a couple of people who asked me, ‘Why didn’t you involve us in the process,’ and my response to that is, ‘You’re being involved in the process — at some point, you’re learning about [the merger] for the first time, and that first time is a shock,’” she said.

Still, Morey stressed that no employees would lose their job — rather, she hopes that the merger will generate room for more promotions among staff — and that employees who formerly worked in Alumni Relations will not be asked to fundraise in their new office.

No employee of the new Office of Alumni Engagement, excluding Morey and Day, responded to a request for comment from the Record. “Moments of transition like this are especially challenging,” Day wrote in her email. “Each person on staff is mov-ing through a range of emotions associated with this change, including excitement, surprise, possibility, confusion, and loss.”

The day after receiving the news of the merger, former Deputy Director of Alumni Relations Ashley Weeks Cart ’05 submitted her resignation to Morey, making April 8 her last day on the job after 12 years in the role. In January, Cart notified Morey and HR that she planned to resign on June 30, the end of the fiscal year to pursue a career as an artist. She told the Record that her decision to leave earlier was a direct response to the merger announcement.

“I just did not feel comfortable sitting for three months in a space with people who made a very seismic decision on the behalf of 30,000 alumni and without including the voices, perspectives, and experience of my 12 colleagues who do this work every day,” Cart said. “There are ways that it could be argued that [the merger] would be a good direction to move — what I’m responding to is that nobody knew and nobody was informed.”

In addition to the delivery of the announcement, Cart took issue with the timing of the change, as Alumni Relations was in the midst of preparing the first in-person reunion in three years as well as makeup reunions for those that were canceled due to the pandemic and the Class of 2020 celebration weekend.

“People are already managing so much,” Cart said. “To have this kind of massive change happen so suddenly — people don’t even really have the bandwidth to absorb what’s happening.”

Morey said there would have been no perfect time to implement the merger. “You could argue that I should have waited [until] July 1, and then there would be a counter to that,” she said. “Even though [Alumni Relations] could continue to operate the way they’re organized between now and the end of the fiscal year … I wanted to get this under way.”