Spring Volunteer Conference Brings Alumni Leaders Back to Bowdoin

By Bowdoin News
In early April 2024, alumni volunteers visited campus to participate in the annual Spring Volunteer Conference—a gathering of Bowdoin’s Alumni Council, Alumni Fund Directors, and BRAVO National Advisory Board (BNAB).

The groups made the most of their time on campus despite a Nor’easter that swept through the state leaving half of campus without power. Many attendees were unable to travel due to airline cancellations and had to attend the conference virtually.

Snow blankets campus in early April during the annual Spring Volunteer Conference.
Snow blankets campus in early April during the annual Spring Volunteer Conference.
The volunteers kicked the conference off in Barry Mills Hall with a warm welcome from BNAB chair Niki Alvarez ’07, who introduced President Safa Zaki. Following several campus updates, President Zaki invited questions from the volunteers, and many engaged in a dynamic dialogue with the president.
President Safa Zaki addresses those gathered in Barry Mills Hall for the Spring Volunteer Conference.
President Safa Zaki addresses those gathered in Barry Mills Hall for the Spring Volunteer Conference.

After their morning with President Zaki, each group met for individual group meetings and discussions, including:  

  • The Alumni Council conducted its plenary sessions and individual committee meetings and heard from faculty representative and professor of education Doris Santoro; career exploration and development staff including executive director Kristin Brennan, senior associate director Bethany Walsh, and associate director Cole Crawford '20; and from director of multicultural alumni engagement Joycelyn Blizzard.

  • BNAB participated in interactive sessions with admissions staff, including Senior Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Claudia Marroquin ’06, Associate Dean of Admissions Kate Featherston ’15, and Assistant Director of Digital Marketing for Admissions Systems Chris Kasprak. Their sessions provided an opportunity for members to learn more about different components of the admissions cycle and a variety of initiatives and programs.

  • The Alumni Fund Directors focused their time on discussing strategies to improve alumni participation in annual giving and volunteer engagement. They heard from special guests including Matt Orlando, senior vice president for finance and administration & treasurer; Scott Meiklejohn, interim senior vice president for development and alumni relations; and Joycelyn Blizzard, director of multicultural alumni engagement.

The three groups came together in Main Lounge to enjoy lunch from Bowdoin Dining as well as a panel discussion hosted by the Alumni Council’s DEIA Committee, featuring special guests including: Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Multicultural Student Life Eduardo Pazos, Associate Director of Residential Life SJ Tinker ’13, and Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Michael Danahy.

In the afternoon, the Alumni Council’s Career Development Committee hosted a student-alumni networking event in Thorne Hall, bringing alumni and more than sixty students together for engaging conversations about career journeys and leveraging the Bowdoin alumni network.

On Friday evening, volunteers from all three groups enjoyed a celebratory dinner and recognized the volunteers who will be concluding their terms of service on June 30, 2024.

After dinner, Alumni Council chair-elect John Shukie '99 celebrated and recognized all Alumni Council members concluding their terms, including: Dave Biette '79, Casey Blossom '13, Richard Bonomo '85, Noah Buntman '08, Caroline Boardman Curtis '72, Ana Timoney-Gomez '18, Mai Le '00, Christopher Omachi '12, and Julian Tamayo '16.

John ended his remarks with a warm thank you to Alumni Council president Awa Diaw ’11, who has served Bowdoin and the Alumni Council for six consecutive years but was unable to join the meetings in person.

BRAVO National Advisory Board chair Niki Alvarez ’07 spoke about the important work of BRAVO volunteers around the world who interviewed more than one thousand prospective Bowdoin students this admissions cycle.

The three outgoing board members served for a total of twenty-three years and matched BRAVO members with more than 300 prospective students electing to conduct an alumni interview.

The outgoing group of volunteers included Daniel Cohen ’15, Moira D. Kelly ’86, and Kristin M. Pollock ’04 who, in addition to serving for nine years as a board member, also served two terms as chair of the BRAVO National Advisory Board.

Finally, vice chair of the Alumni Fund Directors Lance Conrad ’91 ended the evening with a lively game that acknowledged the collective service of Ingrid Anid ’08, Sarah McCready Boston ’98, Kathleen McKelvey Burke ’89, Haliday Douglas ’05, Audrey Leland ’18, Matt Ramos ’12, and Asher Stamell ’13.

He highlighted impressive stats about the group, including that together they represent ninety-four years of volunteer service at Bowdoin, they’ve helped the College raise nearly $40 million for the Alumni Fund during their terms, and they’ve leant their names—and sometimes faces—to a collective seventy-eight communications over the past four years.

Before concluding, Conrad took time to acknowledge outgoing chair Matt Ramos ’12 for his incredible service and dedication to Bowdoin and the Office of Annual Giving.

To learn more about any of these groups, find more information by going to the BRAVO, Alumni Council, Fund Directors web pages.