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From the Alumni Office:


Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations
Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations

Curtain Up! Light the Lights!

Great Theater at (and Beyond) the Heights

If you’ve been to Siena recently, you know the arts are alive and well. At this year’s Homecoming, you heard lots of music (marching band at halftime, Acapelicans at Alumni Awards, choir at Mass) and saw lots of art (John Wittersheim and Lois DeMots retrospectives in Studio Angelico, alumni art in McLaughlin, six alumni sculptures in the new Wittersheim Memorial Sculpture Park). And there’s a good chance you were humming “Day by Day” from the Theater Siena production of Godspell directed by theater program chair Doug Miller ’74. All of the arts are vital to the life and legacy of Siena Heights—enough so that Joni Warner ’83 now works officially connecting our campus with the Lenawee community through the arts.

Today, I’d like to spotlight Siena’s theater program.

For the past decade, one of our most popular alumni events (outside of Homecoming) has been the annual spring Dinner & Theater gathering. About 100 people come to campus—from as far as Detroit, Lansing, Battle Creek and many parts of Ohio—for dinner and the final production of the Theater Siena season. Some people come every year and it’s not uncommon to hear things like “Wow, I saw this once in Boston/New York/Toledo—but this was better!”

That sentiment was definitely buzzing around the Croswell Opera House in Adrian this past summer, when Siena’s Mark DiPietro ’83 directed a full-scale production of Les Miserables with a cast and crew almost half made up of Siena Heights alumni, students and faculty. “We had 300+ people audition,” said DiPietro, chair of SHU’s Fine and Performing Arts division. “They came out of the woodwork for the chance to be in the full, adult version of the show.”

Read more . . .

From the Alumni Office:


Can We Talk?

Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations
Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations

Yes, in so many different ways!

For almost a year, the Alumni Board of Directors has been discussing networking as a way for alumni to connect with Siena Heights. Early conversation focused on how alumni might assist current students—offering mentoring or job shadowing opportunities, welcoming student interns, or simply sharing the wisdom of experience. In a pilot effort, a few alumni did some wisdom-sharing at Homecoming last year, discussing careers with students over Saturday morning coffee.

The talk since then has gone in many directions: How do we bring students and alumni together? What programs or activities might work? And, at our February Board meeting, this question: What are the benefits of connecting undergrads and graduates? Does it make a difference?

Katie Hatch ’07, vice president of the Alumni Board, recalled the impact of a now-nameless art alumna who spoke in a long ago class in Studio Angelico: “She was a woman who worked, had a husband and children, and did her own art, too,” Katie said (attending this Board meeting by Skype from her snowbound home near Akron). “I thought, ‘Wow. If she can teach, have a family, and also do art—I can, too.’ After that, I was ready to major in art. It was a pivotal moment.”

Read more . . .

From the Alumni Office:


My College, My University, My Siena!

Jennifer Hamlin ChurchAssociate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations
Jennifer Hamlin ChurchAssociate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations

Homecoming 2013: What a weekend! Hundreds of alumni came back to campus, the rain stayed away, there were reunions of all kinds—classes, cheerleaders, sorority sisters, fellow semester-travelers to Italy, baseball players. Read all about it in this issue of Reflections.

We work all year on Homecoming and when it’s over, I’m always in a reflective mood. That was especially true this year, because I was honored to be one of your 2013 alumni award winners. Standing on the awards stage at the start of Homecoming gave me a new perspective on Siena. So this seems a good time to talk about my work and why I am so grateful to be at this place.

My job is all about building relationships: inviting friends and alumni (you!) to reconnect meaningfully with the school you once attended. Sometimes, alums are concerned that today’s University seems different from the college they attended 20, 30, 50—or 5—years ago. And it is different: There are new buildings. There are men. There are no uniforms or room inspections, no mandatory Mass. There are students who never set foot on campus. Depending on when you attended Siena, any or all of those differences might be jarring.

Read more . . .