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Alumni outreach campaign exceeds expectations

Northeastern University’s “One Campaign” wrapped up March 31st after engaging an extraordinary 2,500 alumni, parents and friends in conversations about the University’s momentum in just one month. Many of the face-to-face conversations inspired people to deepen their involvement with Northeastern and further celebrate the pride they feel for the institution.

“This is a meaningful moment for our university. The thousands of people we met, and the stories we heard, will build on Northeastern’s strengths in new and exciting ways,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University. “The One Campaign raised awareness and visibility about the tremendous impact our faculty, students and alumni are having on society, and strengthened the bonds that unite the Northeastern family.”

Together, Northeastern’s president, provost, deans, faculty and staff, from every college and school, blew by the campaign’s goal to personally visit with one in every 100 alumni in just one month. Each of these conversations was an opportunity for alumni to learn more about what’s happening on campus and to share their perspectives about Northeastern’s future.

“One of the most important things I heard is pride about Northeastern’s distinctive academic and research reputation and student-centered culture,” said Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president of university advancement. “People are proud to be affiliated with a university that has momentum and are eager to partner with us to advance Northeastern even further.”

Several common themes emerged as Northeastern representatives visited with, listened to and learned from alumni and friends around the world.

Hundreds of alumni expressed support for enhancing experiential education and co-op opportunities. Alumna Christine Wallace, AS’01, is energized by President Joseph E. Aoun’s vision to expand experiential education programs globally, even beyond the 88 cities worldwide it is already in. “Creating programs to give graduates a greater global understanding positions them extremely well for corporate environments,” she said.

Many people are proud that their university is moving forward at a time when others are retrenching. Tom McDonough, BA’71, former President of Coventry Health Care, in Washington, D.C., said he was impressed that Northeastern has not slowed down in recruiting top faculty.

The One Campaign illustrated the University’s global reach as alumni from India to Peru e-mailed perspectives about Northeastern, asking how they can get involved. A parent whose company in China employs two co-op students came to Boston as part of the campaign seeking two more. Alumni in Greece and Turkey expressed excitement about the alumni clubs that just opened in their hometowns.

“The involvement of alumni and friends, whether it is philanthropic support or volunteerism, is critical as we advance Northeastern to the next level of excellence,” said MacGillivray.

During the campaign people shared hundreds of personal stories about why they treasure and invest in Northeastern, and the various professors, classmates and campus experiences that inspire their giving, be it to The Northeastern Fund, or by establishing a planned gift.

“The important role Northeastern has played in so many people’s lives, careers and success came through loud and clear during One Campaign visits,” said Elizabeth Hill, director of gift planning. “Many of the alumni I visited now plan to strengthen their ties with the University because we reached out to them.”

Various events and programs brought the Northeastern family together during the One Campaign, including Insights, the alumni faculty lecture series, ArtsAlive!, an alumni performing arts series, and various alumni chapter events in Florida, Boston, Chicago, and New York, including the Huskies vs. Red Sox spring training game. For the first time, people could follow One Campaign conversations on Twitter. Chapter leaders from Chicago to Connecticut logged on to “tweet” about the many programs, events and networking opportunities that keep their chapters connected.

“Although this campaign may be over, the alumni relations effort has no plans of slowing down. We’re going to keep visiting with alumni face-to-face to hear what they have to say. This campaign proved just how valuable these conversations can be,” said Jack Moynihan, vice president for alumni relations.

MacGillivray said one theme that became apparent during the campaign was the strong sense of tradition and history that unites Northeastern alumni and friends.

“Our academic traditions stretch back many generations and it is important that we treasure Northeastern’s past, even as we celebrate its future. The University will soon be launching an oral history project to capture this spirit and preserve the recollections and reflections of people who have shaped Northeastern through the years,” she said.

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