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From the Alumni Association:

Mary Small Poore, President—Alumni Association Board of Directors
Mary Small Poore, President—Alumni Association Board of Directors

Harness Your Potential

I have had the privilege of participating in the SHU First Year Experience (FYE) dinner-and-book discussion for the past four years. Annually, FYE students are instructed to read a particular book over the summer and write a paper in response. During Welcome Week, the students meet in a faculty home with their FYE instructor to share dinner and their thoughts on the book. Alumni have been invited to participate the past several years—and this is one of my favorite alumni activities. Not only do I feel like a college student again () but this experience re-energizes my faith in younger generations. These students give me so much hope for the future! They never fail to impress me with their thoughts, insights and energy. This year was no exception. It also warmed my heart to see their interest in meeting me and hearing my alumni story. They recognized that many alumni have given time, talent and treasure to make Siena Heights the university it is today. I have never heard so much gratitude from incoming students. I was humbled.

I share this because I want you to know the difference you can make in the lives of our current and prospective students. Try something simple like wearing alumni gear in your community or using a Siena coffee mug in your office; you’ll be surprised at the conversations you spark and the SHU ambassador you become. You could serve as an active Alumni Association Board member, coming to campus several times a year to promote activities that engage alumni with their alma mater. You might connect with former faculty or staff and offer to be a mentor to current students, or speak to a class about how Siena Heights has influenced your experience, personally and professionally. Perhaps, as you look to hire someone, you would consider contacting the SHU Career Development Office—where you might find that graduating senior who is a perfect fit for your business.

You don’t need to be nearby to get involved. This past summer, alumni from graduating classes ending in ‘04 or ’09 (our Homecoming anniversary classes) received a small packet of Siena Heights “Post It” notes, with an invitation to write a welcoming message or two and return the notes to campus. The messages were posted in dorm rooms so that new students would feel a little more “at home” upon arrival. Greetings and notes of encouragement included: “Welcome to a great university,” “My prayers and good wishes for a good beginning and all through your time at Siena and beyond,” “Focus on your tasks one day at a time,” “Live your best; Siena will do the rest.” These wishes came from all over the country and as far away as Puerto Rico. What a wonderful way for alumni around the globe to stay connected to the University and its students.

I also encourage you to consider regular financial contributions to the University at a level that is right for you. Even the smallest gifts, when multiplied, can bring about monumental change on campus. I was amazed that the freshmen knew all about Siena’s recent growth and development, both in buildings and in programs. Many students cited these changes as reasons for choosing Siena. And having heard their comments, I feel more committed than ever to continue financially supporting the University. Our students truly appreciate all that has been done for them. If I didn’t realize it before, I realized it that night. Several even commented they were going to “make their millions” after graduation so they could give back, in gratitude for what those before them had done to make their current education possible. They have noticed!

The title of the book that I and the FYE students read this year is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. It’s an inspiring true story about starting small and making great things happen. I encourage you to harness your potential…and do whatever you can to share your time, talents and treasures with our students. What an investment!


Mary Small Poore ’76
President—Alumni Association Board of Directors

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