Rick Davis has joined Northeastern University as the new vice president for alumni relations.
Davis, who began this month, comes to Northeastern from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was the director of enrichment programs for the university’s General Alumni Association for more than two decades. During that tenure, he provided exemplary leadership and oversight of alumni programs through engagement and development, communication strategy, and volunteer leadership and events.
Davis brings extensive managerial experience, creativity, and enthusiasm to Northeastern in leading the Alumni Relations office’s programming, events, and outreach, which focuses on the university’s 220,000-member alumni community.
“Northeastern’s alumni are the backbone of our institution and represent not only the university’s past, but also the strength and vibrancy of its future,” said Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president for university advancement. “Rick brings an infectious level of enthusiasm and a tireless approach to inspire lifelong connections with our alumni and grow them over time.”
At North Carolina, Davis led initiatives and developed programs that significantly bolstered the outreach and impact of programs for alumni. He built a student membership program to an all-time high membership base, established a popular current-events program featuring faculty speakers, launched livecasting and video programming to connect with alumni worldwide, and conceptualized and created a vision for a series of events celebrating 100 years of women’s accomplishments at UNC.
Davis also developed a robust, multifaceted outreach program in which faculty connected with and brought their classrooms to alumni across the country and around the world. What’s more, he developed a multigenerational alumni career services program that addressed the career needs of alumni throughout their lifetime.
Davis said he’s been extremely impressed with Northeastern’s commitment to—and connections with—its alumni community. He noted that alumni engagement and response to Empower: The Campaign for Northeastern University—the historic campaign to raise $1 billion by 2017—and President Joseph E. Aoun’s leadership were two key factors in drawing him to Northeastern.
“The inspiration President Aoun provides through his leadership was extremely attractive to me,” Davis said. “Northeastern’s momentum right now is extraordinary, and the best is yet to come.”
Prior to the University of North Carolina, Davis worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, where he held multiple positions and managed several teams. He received the President’s Service Award and Outstanding Employee Award, the highest non-monetary recognition bestowed upon the organization’s employees. He has also held various marketing support positions at IBM.
Davis received his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of North Carolina and his master’s degree from Duke University.
In his new role, Davis is eager to help take alumni programming to new heights by creating personalized, multigenerational, and technology-enabled content, all of which, he noted, is necessary to reach alumni across the globe. He also hailed NUcareers, the university’s new careers portal that for the first time provides both students and alumni with a one-stop-shop to search for co-ops and full-time employment opportunities as well as access to new and enhanced career management services.
“I’ve never viewed a university’s alumni relations as operating on an island,” Davis said. “It needs to be in sync with the direction of the university.”
Expanding on that idea, Davis cited Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, which is currently under construction on Columbus Avenue. He pointed in particular to the project’s plan to construct a unique pedestrian bridge over the MBTA Orange Line, commuter rail, and Amtrak tracks that will connect two distinct sections of Northeastern’s campus and bolster the university’s strong ties to the Roxbury and Fenway neighborhoods.
“I’ve thought about this as a metaphor for alumni relations,” Davis explained. “We should be the bridge from the university to all points around the globe where our alumni are living and working.”