In his address at this year's commencement ceremonies, Carlson Alumni Board President Dave Walstad focused on only one concept, but that concept has high-reaching value to both new graduates and seasoned alumni alike. In one word, that concept is engagement.
"There's much to be gained by continued engagement with your alma mater," Walstad said.
The first reason to engage is networking. Alumni of the Carlson School are part of a network of more than 50,000 graduates spanning thousands of corporations around the world. Be they entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 leaders, or community volunteers, they are all part of the Carlson School family.
"If your experience is like mine, your Carlson School network will be an extremely important source of ideas, advice, and career opportunities," Walstad said. "Nurture and expand your Carlson network, by accepting an invitation to attend one of the many networking and social events sponsored by the school. Your engagement in friendships will pay significant dividends for you in the future.
A second reason to engage is to enhance your career. "The Carlson School has a vested interest in your continued success and wants to support your career development," he said.
Every year, the Carlson School has numerous seminars and non-degree courses designed to keep people at the forefront of their career field. As new opportunities are being created all the time, pay special attention to the electronic and direct mail communications you receive from the school.
A third reason to engage is value. How many alumni remember what the reputation of the school was when they graduated? "The truth is no one remembers," Walstad said. "The reputation of the school today is what counts. Looking forward, the future value of your degree depends on the future reputation of the school. So we all have a vested interest in helping the school continually improve."
While alumni financial support will always be important, it is not the only form of engagement. "You can volunteer to be a mentor for a student, you can speak in a class, you can come back to recruit future generations of graduates, or simply attend one of the many networking events," Walstad said. "However you choose to engage, I know you will profit, because the value of your degree rises, along with the Carlson School's reputation."