EDITORIAL: Speaking from experience

Along with providing students with a positive experience at Central Michigan University, it’s equally important for the university to extend its hospitality to our most important product of all – our graduates.

There is no greater measure of the educational value of CMU than our alumni. With 220,000 graduates – 124,000 of who live in Michigan – they represent an accurate reflection of our future as CMU students.

Alumni success stories send a compelling message to students. It inspires hope. It goes beyond theory. It’s a practical representation of what we can become after we leave campus – and we need to hear more.

When former students like actor Jeff Daniels and comedian Larry Joe Campbell come back to campus like their visits earlier this month, it speaks directly to the positive experience they had at CMU.

It shows that even after leaving Mount Pleasant and finding success, they’re still appreciative of the university that made them who they are.

Perhaps more importantly, beyond raising the morale of the student body, alumni offer an expansion to the “CMU Brand.”

The 2013-15 strategic enrollment management plan makes reference to alumni 16 times throughout the document. Through university outreach and graduate support, alumni involvement could play a larger role in growing our enrollment.

Regardless of area of study, professionals who do well in their respective fields shine a positive light on CMU. Their successes shows that our university can and continues to turn out talented graduates on a regular basis – and it makes people want to join the crowd.

In a sense, each graduate offers free marketing to the university.

At a time when the economy is less than stable, with national and state unemployment rates resting between 7 and 9 percent, inspiring hope to our students can be vitally important. Students need to hear these success stories to validate their own goals for after graduation.

However, for alumni to continue to return to campus, CMU needs to foster that relationship. Although we have heard from a significant number of alumni over the years, we need to continue to strive to build that connection.

As students, we want to hear more from our graduates and about our potential after we leave Mount Pleasant, and we want to hear new ways the university is planning to bring these alumni to campus.

Alumni continue to represent and support CMU far beyond graduation. Between attending campus and athletic events, or speaking directly to students – they make their presence known.

It’s the university’s duty to continue to support them in return.


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