Nancy Dillon '71
President, College of Health Professions Alumni Council
The College of Health Professions (CHP) Alumni Council strives to connect with students because, says Council President Nancy Dillon ’71, the wisdom passed along to them is priceless.
“Personally, I love my profession, and I value my education. I love representing that to future alumni,” says Dillon, who is a manager of education at St. John Home Care. “Connecting with students is a great way to invest in the future of the College of Health Professions.”
The council generates awareness for its group by involving members in on-campus activities. Presence at these functions emphasizes the message that the council seeks to openly communicate with students. One such event occurs during graduation season. Dillon attends a special ceremony the night before Commencement. Formerly called “Pinning,” the ceremony is now known as “Transition.”
“It marks the transition into the world of baccalaureate degree nursing, so it is more general,” explains Dillon. “At the end of the ceremony, as alumni council president, it is my role to welcome them (the newly graduated nurses) into the community of alumni and encourage them to be involved and active as alumni and in the council.”
The council also coordinates with faculty to arrange for alumni to make presentations about their careers. “We match alumni from each of the disciplines to the courses. This interaction stresses to the faculty that the council is serious about connecting with students,” says Dillon, who also appreciates the tremendous support the group receives from CHP Dean Suzanne Mellon.
Outside the classroom, for the first time this spring, the council sponsored an afterglow reception for alumni and students following a UDM Theatre Company production of Urinetown. The positive turnout energized the council, which is now eagerly exploring ideas for sponsoring more entertaining events to attract students.
Additionally, Dillon says that recent efforts to increase interest in the council among students are working. “The council itself is undergoing a revitalization. Membership has expanded to include representatives from all of the health professions disciplines,” explains Dillon, who has served as president for the past eight years. “The strength of the College’s future benefits from an active alumni council.”
A graduate of the Mercy College of Detroit School of Nursing, Dillon wants alumni to know that even though the courses for medical records, medical technician and nutrition have been phased out following the consolidation in 1990 of the University of Detroit and Mercy College, these alumni are not forgotten.
“We want to stress that we welcome and value input from these alumni. Their contribution to the council would enhance the alumni and student experience,” emphasizes Dillon.
Dillon adds that the council’s Annual Alumni of the Year awards recognize alumni from the current programs and the programs that are no longer part of the curriculum.
The CHP online newsletter, Healthy Times, e-mail messages and the CHP web site—http://healthprofessions.udmercy.edu/—function to highlight and connect alumni.
“We want alumni to know that there are a variety of ways to donate their time. It could be by participating in one special event or by joining the council, which meets about six times a year,” explains Dillon.
She says the council welcomes ideas on how to promote the student and alumni connection and is especially interested in hearing about the initiatives other UDM alumni groups have taken to reach their audiences.