Lunch With The Dean

One thing I’ve noticed in my networking adventures is that there is *SO* much work to be done and so few people raising their hand to help move things along. And another thing I’ve noticed is that the same few people raise their hand. I guess that’s why “they” say to give the work you need done to the busiest people. These people have learned how to get stuff done. The unsaid part is that the folks with bandwidth have learned how to offload the little work they are responsible for. Man, have I seen this happen too many times.

Kingsgate Conference CenterToday’s networking adventure took me to a piece of the UC Alumni Weekend action. Valerie Hardcastle, the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences dean held an alumni lunch at the Kingsgate Conference Center. Chalk one up for anotheUC College of Arts & Sciencesr AWESOME meal at this facility. I think that’s 4 since October. You want me to meet you for, say, anything, just meet me there. And when one of the guys required a salt-free lunch, the kitchen custom prepared a dish of salmon and asparagus with a side of mashed potatoes on the spot. The service is outstanding. Never mind what asparagus does to you. The rest of us walked a buffet of salads, bread, string beans with real bacon, a meatloaf-ish substance with mushrooms, perfectly baked and moist chicken breasts, barbecued ribs, chocolate cake, and two kinds of cheesecake.

I had never met nor seen a picture of Valerie, so I didn’t know who I was looking for. I expected something much more formal, so I walked right by her when she said hello (note the nice networking technique – see post #2 on networking, esp. the part about looking past people to get to the important people). Then when someone distributed name badges everything became clear. I had dissed Valerie Hardcastle. And I’m sure she didn’t meanValerie Hardcastle anything by this, but I felt the knife twist when she took the chair next to me and treated me very kindly.

It hit me as Valerie and some of her staff were speaking that A&S has 45,000 living alum, and here we were in a room of 60 total chairs and not all of them belonged to a body. What a great program in a great university and still it’s really difficult to get that word out. Managing communication becomes the bottleneck here as in most organizations. I happened to find out about this lunch by chance, as even as I’ve visited websites time and time again to change my contact information, my alumni mailings continue to show up at my parents home in Cleveland — 15 YEARS LATER.

So I stepped up to volunteer. I’m hoping to spread the word. And I met some really good people along the way. I’ll let you know where this goes. Suffice to say that if you have an opportunity to give back to your alma mater, there are a ton of great kids looking for your help and guidance, and you have an opportunity to make a huge difference in some people’s lives. Especially if you come from a liberal arts background, because, like, what the heck kind of a job can an English major get!:)

Points of interest:

  • the average 4 year degree program takes 5 1/3 calendar years to complete
  • 70% of students change their major (not counting those who start out undeclared)
  • When you go to the Thursday night alumni reception, it’s usually for the folks staying in the hotel. These folks are coming in for a reunion, usually a 50th reunion. Tack on the 22 years old they were when they graduated and you’ll understand why everyone around you is in their 70s and they think you are with the Alumni Association.



~ by Andy on May 16, 2008.

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