Before beginning the Futures in Advancement internship program, I was not really aware of the non-profit sector of higher education. I knew students receive scholarships, researchers obtain funding, and buildings are named after people, but I never stopped to think about how these things came to be. After two weeks as a Futures intern and meeting everyone at the RBHS (Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences) unit, I started to find out what advancement in a higher education setting is about. As someone who is pursuing a career in higher education, this connection between advancement and academics piqued my interest, and I wanted to learn more. On June 19th, our first Speaker Series covered how academics and advancement at Rutgers are tied together – perfect timing!
During this session, we first heard from Dean Peter March, the Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Tracy Elliot, Associate Vice President of Development at SAS. Through our discussion with them, I learned about the importance of faculty in advancement work. Dean March described our faculty as unique due to their entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to their students. To make their visions for enhancing students’ education a reality, faculty and the development team work together to get support from alumni and friends of the university. Without the faculty’s passion or the development team’s expertise, these initiatives could not grow and thrive.
Next, we heard from Art Certosimo, Chair of the Board of Overseers, and Nevin Kessler, the Foundation President. Art’s journey from a Rutgers alum who had lost contact with the university to his current position as Chair was inspiring and eye-opening. He stressed the significance of Rutgers alumni connections with each other, with faculty, and with Rutgers itself. I saw how Rutgers students’ relationships with faculty can be so impactful even many years after graduating. This connection and appreciation for faculty can be the tie that brings alumni back to the university. It can also be the motivation for (in Art’s words) an alum’s “joyful responsibility” to give back to Rutgers.
Being able to listen to and talk with these amazing speakers was an honor and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about a side of higher education that I knew very little about. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni all play an important role in advancement. I will keep the wisdom from these speakers with me as I continue on my journey with Futures and fulfill my own joyful responsibility to Rutgers.
Janelle Raymundo is a Futures in Advancement Intern in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences