How to Meet Great People

Dear Fellow Alumni,

What I want to say is: Get involved in your local alumni activities. You’ll meet great people and it’s a way to stay involved with our university, contribute our talents, keep Wesleyan in the forefront of people’s minds, and keep the alumni/parent network active–which helps us all.

But you’ve heard that before.

So instead, I thought if you met some of the alumni volunteers, you’d want to meet more. May I introduce you to two members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee?

Clare Schneider ’84 lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., with her husband, and in the summer is director of a camp in Santa Cruz, Calif. She has served Wesleyan in a variety of volunteer venues. She has been chair of the Wesleyan Club of Atlanta, serves on the Binswanger Teaching Prize Committee, and is now chair of the WESeminar Committee, the results of which you’ve most likely enjoyed, either on campus or at local events. She is an impressive leader, working closely with the staff on campus to initiate ideas and coordinate a program that brought together 62 speakers–alumni, faculty, and parents–on 31 topics for Homecoming/Family Weekend.

Clare says her greatest challenge as the WESeminar Committee chair is “continuing to build on the strong foundation, with a wide variety of topics that appeal to alumni of all ages and eras.”

As Atlanta Club chair, she recalls her greatest source of pride was marshalling a large group of alumni to commit half a day at the Atlanta food bank, sorting and packing boxes of food. “It was an outstanding example of Wesleyan volunteerism,” she says.

And her favorite moment as a Wesleyan volunteer: “I was honored to present Professor Jeremy Zwelling with a gift, thanking him for his numerous talks to alumni around the country. What amazes me is how committed faculty are to the university–it’s not just alumni who want to give back.”

Mildred Carrillo ’91 works at Goldman Sachs and is chair of the Wesleyan Club of New York, our largest regional club, with dozens of people attending each of the three December events. This outgoing, energetic woman claims that she “just came out of the woodwork several years ago, when I approached the university about increasing the Janina Montero Prize to a four-year scholarship– and we’re now very, very close to that goal.”

Though not a fundraiser by profession, Mildred says, “I learned how to look people straight in the eye and ask for money–and it’s easy when you are passionate about the cause. I have a lot of admiration for [former Dean of the College] Janina Montero. If you get people talking, everyone has a great Janina story. And this is the first time that alumni of color have taken an active role in fundraising.”

This is what Mildred finds in the New York Club: “My alumni have well thought-out opinions, which I enjoy hearing, even when I don’t agree. That’s better, really, because it gives me the opportunity to test my ideas: Is there a different way to look at the question?”

Mildred’s favorite club activity: Attending the events. “A lot of work goes on behind the scenes– lining up content, venue, agenda–and it’s so rewarding when I arrive at the event, and there’s a beginning and an end. We just get so much positive feedback that it’s all worth it.”

Her greatest challenge: Planning the calendar of events, which must be done well in advance. She laughs at her coworkers’ amazement that she declined their December holiday party when they announced the date in November: It conflicted with a Wesleyan event the club had scheduled last August. “But that’s where I’d want to be, anyway,” she says. “I can’t get enough alumni in my life.”

Clare and Mildred are only two of the 34 great people on the Executive Committee. There are countless more terrific alumni and parents in the club in your community. Attend one of these events, and come meet some great people. Clare, Mildred, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Yours in Red and Black,
Dave Bartholomew ’81, Chair