By Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU


The topic of this month’s issue of Connections coincides with the current commencement season: creative ways that our schools are building cultures of philanthropy and cultivating donors of all generations. You will learn about new programs at Le Moyne College and Saint Peter’s University for students and recent graduates; how Gonzaga University capitalized on its men’s basketball program’s success in the 2017 NCAA tournament to reach new donors; and campus events at Creighton University designed to celebrate leaders and donors throughout the University community.

We are pleased to feature an article that was originally published by our friends at the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education for the online version of Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education. Jacob Dillabaugh, a Master’s degree candidate at Boston College, posits ways that community partnerships can strengthen ties to recent graduates: rather than soliciting them for financial contributions, colleges and universities may find it just as beneficial (if not more so) to help their new alumni find interns or volunteers for their new places of work from among their current students. Developing town-gown relationships is a win-win for both institutions and companies or organizations. One such positive outcome? Future employees would come from an institution that companies value and trust for producing motivated, capable and hard-working graduates.

Many of our campus leaders in development and advancement will meet this summer at Loyola Marymount University for the annual conference of the Jesuit Advancement Administrators (JAA). This year’s meeting will be held in Los Angeles from July 22-24; learn more about “JAA in LA” in this issue of Connections from the chair of JAA, Doreen Knapp Riley of John Carroll University.

This issue of Connections will conclude the 2017-18 academic year; we will be on a summer hiatus until our next issue in September 2018. If there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in Connections, please write to me at We value your feedback and look forward to hearing your suggestions on ways that we can improve and enhance this publication for our readers.

On behalf of all of us at AJCU, we wish you a very happy and restful summer!

By Cynthia Littlefield, Vice President for Federal Relations, AJCU


New Tactics on Immigration
Long-simmering frustration over a lack of focus on immigration legislation and resolving DACA has compelled three members of the United States House of Representatives, Jeff Denham (R-CA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and Will Hurd (R-TX), to start a discharge petition on immigration. During a recent meeting of the Republican caucus, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) asked his members to refrain from signing the discharge petition. Hours later, two members signed: Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and Dave Trott (R-MI). As of this writing, there are 213 signatures; 218 are needed to discharge the petition.

After reaching the required number of signatures on the discharge petition, a special procedure known as the “Queen of the Hill” rule would allow the House to vote on four separate DACA proposals; the bill with the most votes in the House would pass. The four votes would occur on the bill proposed by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) (who chairs the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over immigration policy); the DREAM Act; the USA Act; and a fourth bill to be announced (for details on all of these bills, please click here).

As a discharge petition would bypass House committees and leadership, the only way it could be stopped would be through a call for recess by the Speaker of the House when Congress is in session on the first or third Monday of the month.

House Majority Whip, Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA), announced that there would be a second vote on the Farm bill on June 22, and a vote on the Goodlatte bill at some point during the third week of June. This particular bill would provide a three-year extension for DACA recipients but, unlike the Dream Act, it would not provide a path toward citizenship.

AJCU will keep Jesuit institutions up to date on the the discharge petition and any potential opportunities to resolve DACA.

Updates on the Prosper Act
It is our understanding that congressional leadership have asked Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee, to secure votes for the “Prosper Act,” which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The chair subsequently called a meeting of Republican members on the committee for Wednesday, May 23, to discuss ways to secure enough votes for passage on the House floor within one month.

AJCU remains concerned by Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill would cut funding to student aid programs by $15 billion. Specifically, the bill would eliminate SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), and cut subsidized and public service loan forgiveness, Graduate and Parent Plus loans, all of which would restrict students’ access to obtaining a higher education. In response, AJCU will continue advocating for preservation of these programs that are vital to Jesuit institutions.

Appropriations Process Begins for FY19
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health & Human Services and Education will mark up the FY19 appropriations bill during the week of June 25. House Subcommittee markup dates have not yet been announced. At stake is preserving campus-based aid funding and Pell grants. AJCU continues to work on these issues with members of the Appropriations committees and their staff.

Save the Date: The AJCU Federal Relations Conference will be held from September 26-27, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

By Molly McCarthy, Writer-Editor, Office of Communications, Le Moyne College

Le Moyne President Linda LeMura, Ph.D., and students join in the spirit of Giving Day (photo by Le Moyne College)

When Martino Laterza ’19 first stepped onto the Le Moyne College campus in Syracuse, NY in August 2015, he vowed to make the most of his Jesuit education. Laterza has made good on that promise, enthusiastically embracing every opportunity presented to him. A dual major in management and leadership and human resource management, he serves as a marketing and development intern at Syracuse’s Museum of Science and Technology (MOST); resident advisor in Nelligan Hall; president and founder of the nonprofit organization, Arts in Action; and vice president of club development for the Student Government Association.

The more involved Laterza became at Le Moyne, the more he realized that if it weren’t for generous alumni and friends who support the College financially, he would not have enjoyed any of those experiences. Benefactors make countless student experiences possible, from research to service trips to study abroad. The belief these individuals have in the College’s mission – and in the power of a Le Moyne education to shape lives – inspired Laterza to take on one more commitment as a founding member of the College’s Student Alumni Leadership Training (SALT) program.

Now in its second year, SALT lies at the heart of the College’s advancement initiatives. The program teaches students like Laterza about the role philanthropy plays in ensuring that the College will continue to thrive for generations to come. It provides them with an opportunity to interact with alumni and friends who support the College, to thank them for their gifts, and to share news from Le Moyne. By extension, SALT promotes a culture of giving and prepares today’s students to become tomorrow’s active, engaged alumni volunteers. Students participating in SALT learn that every contribution serves as a powerful testament to the donor’s belief in the power of a Le Moyne education to shape lives – and entire communities.

“SALT teaches students about the power of giving in a way that is both personal and meaningful. What’s more, it enables them to play a role in ensuring the future vitality of their College, which one day will be their alma mater,” said Bill Brower, vice president for communications and advancement. “As they have conversations with alumni and others who volunteer, advise and philanthropically support Le Moyne, students gain a deeper appreciation for the investment that benefactors are making in them and in their future. I hope that will inspire these young men and women to give back themselves one day in whatever way they can.”

Members of Le Moyne's SALT program join their peers in sharing what they love about Le Moyne (photo by Le Moyne College)
Members of Le Moyne’s SALT program join their peers in sharing what they love about Le Moyne (photo by Le Moyne College)

The SALT program has two principle initiatives – the Senior Gift and Giving Day.

The Senior Gift enables members of the graduating class to leave something to the College that is personally significant to them. The Class of 2017 contributed more than $12,000 to support the Matt Shaw Fund and the Professor David Smith Fund, which provide students with financial assistance to take part in opportunities that broaden their academic experience, such as research or courses that include travel. The Class of 2017 set a participation record, with more than 50 percent of its members making a senior gift. Meanwhile, the Class of 2018 hopes to surpass that, with a goal of 51 percent of the members of the class making a gift.

Giving Day encourages alumni, parents, faculty, staff and students to reinforce their belief in the power of a Le Moyne education by making a gift within a specified 24-hour period. During the third-annual giving day, held on February 28, 1,500 donors completed gifts totaling over $500,000 in just 24 hours–far surpassing the goal of 1,400 gifts. The members of SALT helped to spread the word about Giving Day through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and produced thank-you videos for many of the donors.

Laterza contributed to that success. A week before Giving Day, he took over the College’s Instagram account, taking viewers on a virtual tour of a day in his life, as he worked at the MOST, joked with friends in the College’s LaCasse Dining Center, and attended his arts administration class. He reflected upon the opportunities that he and his classmates have had to learn and grow, in large part thanks to the commitment that donors have made to them.

“None, and I mean none, of the opportunities my classmates and I have had would be possible if people didn’t give back to Le Moyne,” he said. “Whether it’s money, time or knowledge, there are plenty of ways to give back. Without alumni involvement, I may have never found my internship at the MOST. Without money, we wouldn’t be able to fund the 83 student organizations on campus. And without time, I wouldn’t have gotten all the professional advice that I have from alumni and mentors. I am proud to be able to continue this tradition.”

By Angeline Boyer, Assistant Director of Media Relations, Saint Peter’s University


Faced with an aging subset of alumni donors, in 2014, Saint Peter’s University began looking into opportunities to engage recent graduates in more meaningful ways. The following year, the Office of Alumni Engagement (AE) and the annual giving (AG) team formalized the Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) program in an effort to strengthen the engagement of the alumni base, expand the network of support for alma mater, and raise the brand visibility of the University, located in Jersey City, NJ.

The Challenges of Cultivating Young Donors
Young donors can be one of the most challenging groups of prospects for a university to cultivate, but also one of the most significant. Engaging a recent graduate as early as possible is critical to building a pathway for future giving down the road, but student loan debt and a shaky job market can be major roadblocks to participation. However, according to a recent Saint Peter’s graduate, Shishir Khadka ’12, these “roadblocks” are exactly why young alumni need to stay connected to alma mater.

“Once you have been in the workforce for more than a decade, you can become more stable, but the most active stage of your career is likely to be right after graduation,” explained Khadka. “The development of the GOLD program is critical for recent graduates because it provides networking opportunities that are essential as individuals are getting started in their careers.”

A recent GOLD Alumni Happy Hour, held on April 26, 2018 (photo by Saint Peter’s University)

Delivering What Recent Graduates Seek
Khadka’s insight is exactly what the AE and AG teams at Saint Peter’s utilized to develop their strategy behind the University’s GOLD initiatives. The teams implemented a number of collaborative tactics to develop a stronger culture of philanthropy and engagement among recent graduates. One of the most successful of these tactics was the development of the GOLD committee, of which Khadka is a member.

The committee, which is comprised of alumni who have graduated over the past decade, primarily serves to organize networking events and happy hours to bring young alumni together. The group spreads the word about the events to their friends and former classmates through direct contact and social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

The committee also provides information about what programming and resources they would find useful. Career planning tends to be a major area of interest for these young alumni. Khadka, who currently serves as a data management analyst, is planning to work with the committee to build out a mentorship program for current students and recent graduates in the near future.

The AE and AG teams have also collaborated with campus partners including the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning (CEEL) as well as academic departments to strengthen and promote professional and post-graduate opportunities. CEEL recently hosted a career preparation seminar with special guest presenter, Animesh Singh ’14. Singh, another member of the GOLD committee, shared his professional journey since graduation (including his role as a member of the committee), and offered tips and advice for crafting a winning resume. The seminar was part of the Senior Success Program at Saint Peter’s.

“Engaging with CEEL and the Senior Success Program is ideal for the lasting growth of our GOLD initiatives,” explained Scott Donovan, assistant director of annual giving. “When our current seniors have the opportunity to see the success of a recent graduate and hear firsthand about the value of remaining connected to the University, it makes our jobs so much easier to cultivate these students in the future.”

Coming Full Circle
If an institution could paint the ideal picture of a GOLD participant, it would look like Ali Hassan ’13. Hassan came to Saint Peter’s on a presidential scholarship and graduated in 2013 as a member of the Most Noble Order of the Peacock. This is the oldest scholarship society of the University with membership limited to ten seniors who have attained the highest scholastic average in all courses during their first three years of study. Hassan was hired by Goldman Sachs right out of college and honed his skills there before opening his own asset management company in 2017. He also met his wife, Natalia (Carvalho) Hassan ’14, at Saint Peter’s. Natalia currently works as a nurse, and the couple lives in Manhattan.

Hassan frequently expresses his gratitude for the opportunities he was provided at Saint Peter’s. “My presidential scholarship made so much possible for me and I always vowed to do whatever I could do to repay it,” he explained. But it isn’t just the scholarship that Hassan values: he credits his time at Saint Peter’s for providing him with the skills and networking opportunities to get where he is today.

Hassan is repaying the University in more ways than one. He has participated in six Saint Peter’s events this year, including speeches on blockchain and cryptocurrency. Most recently, Hassan participated in a session on “Trends in Blockchain & Cryptocurrency,” which featured alumni from the Class of 1995 who Hassan has met through his Saint Peter’s connections. While he is bringing his knowledge about an increasingly relevant and generally unknown field to current students, he is also demonstrating the value of remaining connected to the University after graduation.

Hassan and others like him are paving the pathway to the future success of the GOLD program at Saint Peter’s. The dedication of their time, talent and treasure is already inspiring current students and recent graduates. To learn more about the GOLD program, please click here.

By Holly Jones, Development Communications Specialist, Gonzaga University

 Spike, the Gonzaga University Bulldog mascot, showed support for Zags Give Day and joined over 1,887 donors in giving to Gonzaga on March 8, 2018 (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Spike, the Gonzaga University Bulldog mascot, showed support for Zags Give Day and joined over 1,887 donors in giving to Gonzaga on March 8, 2018 (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

 Zag alumni, parents, friends and fans of all generations joined together in Phoenix to celebrate the Gonzaga men’s basketball championship appearance in 2017 (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Zag alumni, parents, friends and fans of all generations joined together in Phoenix to celebrate the Gonzaga men’s basketball championship appearance in 2017 (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

 A community that’s always looking for opportunities to serve others, Gonzaga alumni capitalized on the 2017 NCAA tournament enthusiasm to execute service projects in the tournament communities (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

A community that’s always looking for opportunities to serve others, Gonzaga alumni capitalized on the 2017 NCAA tournament enthusiasm to execute service projects in the tournament communities (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

 Gonzaga’s president, Dr. Thayne McCulloh, actively joined in donor events and pep rallies, engaging with the University community throughout the tournament run (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Gonzaga’s president, Dr. Thayne McCulloh, actively joined in donor events and pep rallies, engaging with the University community throughout the tournament run (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

 Donor support helps Gonzaga students reach new heights in their academic pursuits, faith formation, and in serving communities for the good of all (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Donor support helps Gonzaga students reach new heights in their academic pursuits, faith formation, and in serving communities for the good of all (photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

 Gonzaga logo courtesy of Gonzaga University

Gonzaga logo courtesy of Gonzaga University

Ask anyone associated with Gonzaga University — students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff, friends and fans — what makes Gonzaga special, and you will get a single-word reply: “community.” This community is a unique one, filled with people whose concern for the whole person, or cura personalis, is in many ways showcased in their giving habits and patterns. Over the past year, some innovative approaches on the part of Gonzaga’s University Advancement team to encourage increased giving participation have been very successful. It is all part of a strategy to ensure that the exemplary education intended to develop every student’s intellectual skills, imaginative capacities and ability to innovate is, in the Jesuit tradition, accessible to all.

In addition to this strong sense of community, Gonzaga has also built a national brand for its success through basketball. The ascension of the Gonzaga men’s basketball program to the NCAA Division I national championship game in 2017, followed by Gonzaga’s 20th consecutive appearance and 21st overall in 2018, has presented extraordinary opportunities to engage the community, by reminding them of how their support helps students to excel on the court and in the classroom, and become leaders who shape and serve their communities.

As soon as there was even a sense that a championship appearance was a possibility during the 2016-17 basketball season, the University Advancement division began planning for ways to both fundraise and express gratitude for those whose hard work, vision and generosity lifted Gonzaga to that moment. At the same time, strategies were put into place to publicize the University’s stories from off the court — of the community, academics and Jesuit values — through various media sources and events.

“Well before the tournament started, we contacted University Trustees with winter homes in Phoenix (site of the 2017 Final Four®) and asked them to host special donor-focused gatherings,” said Brian Ruark, assistant vice president of development. “These events featured University leaders, including the president, athletic director and academic deans, and enabled development staff to leverage the excitement and attention that Gonzaga received thanks to the success of the basketball program. Being in the national spotlight, it was critical for us to engage with donors to share the many stories of our academic success and priorities, in addition to the story of our basketball success.”

One year later, still capitalizing on the excitement leading up to Gonzaga’s tournament appearance in the previous year, advancement staff planned Zags Give Day, the annual 24-hour giving drive on March 8th (the Thursday before Selection Sunday and one week prior to the start of the NCAA tournament). Gonzaga used the one-day, all-digital campaign of email, blogs and social media (organic engagement and paid advertisements) to strategically target potential donors based on segmented strategies using geotargeting, demographics and behaviors. Prospective donors were invited to support their choice of twelve crowdfunding projects that were carefully selected to represent a broad range of schools, programs and other giving opportunities to help students.

Among the opportunities were a scholarship named for a beloved, retiring faculty member; a solar-panel installation; equipment for the University’s manufacturing technology center; and research programs. Matching challenges for each project were secured from major gift donors in advance, and those matching gifts were “unlocked” when each campaign reached a predetermined donor goal. The projects and the digital marketing that led donors to support them brought in gifts from donors in all 50 states, exceeding the overall donor goal of 1,887 (chosen to recognize the year of Gonzaga’s founding by Rev. Joseph Cataldo, S.J.) and raising over $421,000, breaking all previous one-day giving drive records at Gonzaga. Additional details and results can be found at

“Gonzaga’s community of alumni, families, friends, fans, faculty and staff made a bold statement of their belief in this University [on Zags Give Day],” said Stephanie Rockwell, senior director of advancement operations. “Their generosity has [made] an unmistakable impact on Gonzaga students today and into the future.”

Looking ahead, Gonzaga has continued enthusiasm for even more innovative fundraising and gratitude strategies as the advancement team considers solutions for traditional models, such as telephone and direct mail, which are starting to show diminishing returns. Gonzaga has begun using texting platforms and personalized video messaging for solicitation and stewardship, and advancement officers are exploring even more creative opportunities. At the same time, Gonzaga’s advancement team is ensuring that time be allotted for careful, grateful reflection on efforts thus far. Through it all, maintaining focus on the University’s mission and goals to cultivate lifelong relationships with the Gonzaga community will be key to attracting, retaining and converting well-engaged Zags of all ages into donors.

By Rick Davis, Director of Communications, Creighton University

Former Creighton student-athlete Judy (Richmeier) Pritza received the Leaders for Life Award at the University’s 2017 Leaders for Life Luncheon. Since its inception, Leaders for Life has raised more than $900,000 for endowed and annual scholarships …
Former Creighton student-athlete Judy (Richmeier) Pritza received the Leaders for Life Award at the University’s 2017 Leaders for Life Luncheon. Since its inception, Leaders for Life has raised more than $900,000 for endowed and annual scholarships for outstanding female leaders (photo courtesy of Creighton University)

Creighton University, located in Omaha, NE, is reaching out to its wide range of donors in some unique ways, with programming and events designed for women, families and alumni of multiple generations.

“We are continually looking for ways to connect Creighton and its mission with our various philanthropic constituents,” said Matt Gerard, Creighton’s vice president for university relations. “It is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Alumni, parents, friends of the University, current students and the wider philanthropic community are all part of the equation. According to Gerard, “We not only offer various ways to give, but we look for meaningful connections to involve our donors more deeply in our mission. We want them to understand, on a personal level, how their gifts impact our students.”

To that end, Creighton hosts an annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon, which provides an opportunity for donors who have named scholarships to meet with the student recipients. The invitation list includes all original donors of named annual and endowed scholarships; donors who have made a significant gift to named scholarships; relatives of namesake scholarships when the namesake is deceased; and other prospects as identified by gift officers and donors. Donors see firsthand the importance of their gifts in the stories shared by the students. Speakers at the luncheon include Gerard, Creighton President, Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., and a student scholarship recipient.

In addition to the scholarship luncheons, Creighton has developed an award-winning video series, “Student Stories from the Jesuit Gardens,” in which students talk about their Creighton experiences and thank donors for their support. The videos have been shared through targeted e-mails with alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends.

This year marks Creighton’s 13th annual Leaders for Life Luncheon, a fundraising event that recognizes Creighton’s female student-athletes. Leaders for Life gifts support endowed and annual scholarships that ensure the continued education and graduation of outstanding female leaders. Since its inception, Leaders for Life has raised more than $900,000.

The Leaders for Life Luncheon celebrates women as leaders and allows female student-athletes the opportunity to thank the supporters of women’s athletics who make it possible for the athletes to compete in the BIG EAST Conference at the NCAA Division I level. In addition, the Leaders for Life Award and the Believe and Achieve Award are presented to two influential supporters of women’s athletics for their continued leadership and advancement at Creighton and in the community.

Photo courtesy of Creighton University
Photo courtesy of Creighton University

On April 11, Creighton hosted its inaugural Giving Day, a 24-hour online fundraising event through which donors could lend their support to 67 different areas of campus – from social justice programs to academic resources, athletics, scholarships and more.

The event primarily targeted younger alumni, but was open to all members of the Creighton Bluejays community, with the tagline “We Fly Together” (the social media hashtag was #FlyTogetherGiveTogether). It included some matching-gift opportunities; in addition, individuals who made a gift of $25 or more received a pair of Creighton socks. The event was promoted mostly through social media and e-mail campaigns, and included a promotional video, and an e-mail message from Fr. Hendrickson to faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents welcoming their participation.

The event well exceeded its goal of 1,000 donors in 24 hours, as more than 3,000 donors contributed $712,570 in online gifts. Gifts were tracked in real time, both to the overall campaign and to the individual programs. Donors could also include their names and gift amounts online. Many of the individual programs met or surpassed the goals they had set. A thank-you e-mail was sent from Fr. Hendrickson to faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents the following day.

In December, Creighton’s Office of Alumni Relations and Donor Engagement hosted a ZooLights holiday party at the Phoenix Zoo. This family-friendly event attracted more than 200 alumni, parents and friends, engendering goodwill for Creighton University. It is one of a number of events across the country, including those surrounding Creighton presidential visits and athletic competitions, that are sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and Donor Engagement. Since the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, the events have attracted more than 9,500 participants.

“We hope to meet donors where they are in life and provide opportunities for them to be partners in our mission,” said Gerard. “It’s extremely exciting and rewarding. As we continue to look for new ways to engage current and new donors in the life of our University, we are fortunate to have Fr. Hendrickson, who has a clear vision for our future, and to have donors who believe in what Creighton does for its students, the community and the world.”

By Jacob Dillabaugh for Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education

Boston College students featured in AJCU's 2018 Jesuit Educated Video (AJCU)
Boston College students featured in AJCU’s 2018 Jesuit Educated Video (AJCU)

It was only a matter of time after graduating from college, that my friends and I began receiving numerous calls from the university development office and a legion of well-meaning undergraduates armed with telephones. These calls for donation give little consideration to the tuition spent, the debt accrued, or even the variety of career paths chosen by graduates. The meager contributions that are given have little relative impact on the operation of the university and are one of the least effective ways of engaging young alumni in making greater the impact of universities. Instead, we should be utilizing the gifts that our alumni possess in their new positions and networks to create and cultivate more dynamic partnerships with the cities, communities and organizations around us, especially when so many of them end up right in our backyards.

The supposed aim of Jesuit higher education touted by admissions offices, print materials and presidential addresses is always toward some form of educating “women and men to be with and for others.” If we do indeed produce graduates who seek to be so oriented within our society, then why not utilize them? Regardless of their chosen major or career path, each graduate represents a possible connector to an untapped opportunity of partnership for universities to actually have substantial impact on the surrounding community.

Take, for example, those who pursue their career or vocation in the world of nonprofit service organizations. I admit that it is possible and desirable for all graduates, regardless of field, to act in ways that are oriented toward a state of being with and for others. However, those in the nonprofit sector represent an alumni cohort decidedly committed to that ideal.

Many alumni who find work in the nonprofit sector after graduation are often continuing experiences that they had during their undergraduate years through community service or service-learning programs. Through a service placement or an internship, they find full-time employment at the same organization or within the same field. Because of their age and experience, these young alumni often fill roles that have some direct supervision over incoming volunteers or partnership management. Given their positions, these recent alumni are strategically placed to be directly involved in the establishment or further development of university community partnerships with the neighborhoods and communities around them.

Examples of this dynamic are borne out in a study, currently underway, of the partnerships between service-oriented programming at a Jesuit university in the Northeast and its community partner organizations. The preliminary findings of this research have shown that a significant number of the directors, volunteer coordinators, or even general staff at the community partner organizations are tied to the university, typically as alumni, with which they are partnered. Their status as both alumni and, now, professional staff allows them to act as bridges between their organization and the university. As an alumni, they understand the institutional capacities of the university, and as nonprofit professionals, they understand the abilities and needs of their organization. This dual-sided understanding allows for the better construction and development of partnerships.

A positive experience with university-based programs leads alumni to re-engage with the university and offer a meaningful way of expanding the impact that our universities have on neighborhood and community partnerships. If viewed as in-kind gifts, these partnerships could offer far more to the expansion of a Jesuit university’s mission than small sums of money ever could. If we instead turn back to our mission and recognize that we have, indeed, educated women and men for others, we can actually propel that mission further by engaging alumni well beyond the scope of a phone call or a credit card transaction. If I were to, instead, receive a phone call asking about how I might facilitate a university-community partnership, I would absolutely be more invested and give more of myself.

Jacob Dillabaugh is a candidate for a Master’s degree in sociology at Boston College. He is conducting research on the relationships between service-based campus organizations, such as BC’s PULSE Program for Service Learning, and the community partners where students are sent to serve during the year. This article was originally published in Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education and is published in Connections with permission from the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education.

Photo courtesy of Loyola Marymount University

The Jesuit Advancement Administrators (JAA) conference of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is a professional organization of advancement professionals serving Jesuit higher education in the United States. Founded by Rev. J. Barry McGannon, S.J. at Saint Louis University in 1990, JAA became an official organization on June 21, 1991. JAA serves as a resource for professional development; provides an opportunity to share best practices in the industry; and acts as a network for the advancement of Jesuit higher education.

Membership is voluntary and each of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the nation pay annual dues. The Advancement Vice Presidents convene as a group at least twice a year to oversee the work of JAA and appoint one person from their team to serve as a member of the JAA Conference Planning Committee. This committee organizes an annual gathering designed to strengthen relationships with colleagues who share common bonds and needs; to sharpen and keep contemporary the professional development of advancement teams; and focus on understanding and articulating the Jesuit nature of our institutions. More than 350 professionals in alumni relations, development, advancement services, and marketing and communications for advancement regularly attend the annual meeting.

This summer, “JAA in LA: Accelerating the Future of Advancement in Jesuit Higher Education” will convene in Los Angeles from July 22-24, 2018; the meeting will be co-hosted by Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University. Special thanks goes to Mike Wallace, AVP for Development and Constituent Relations at Santa Clara, and Erin Hanson, Senior Director for Board and Donor Relations at Loyola Marymount, for leading the JAA Conference Planning Committee, which has organized a very exciting program.

This year’s JAA meeting will open with a Mass at the Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of Loyola Marymount. The opening keynote address will be given by Kerry A. Robinson, Founding Executive Director and Global Ambassador of the Leadership Roundtable. A panel of AJCU presidents will share their views on how best to work with and be supported by the advancement divisions at their institutions.

A selection of featured sessions:

In July, JAA will present several awards of recognition including its highest honor, the Reverend J. Barry McGannon, S.J., Award; the awards honor special achievement or dramatic improvement in several areas of advancement (the recipients have not yet been announced). Social events at the conference include a “Taste of LA” and an “Evening Under the Stars at Sony Pictures Studios.” For more information about this summer’s “JAA in LA” conference, please click here.

This overview of the annual Jesuit Advancement Administrators Conference was provided by Doreen Knapp Riley, Vice President for Advancement and Corporate Secretary at John Carroll University, and current chair of JAA.

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) sponsors over 30 conferences (affinity groups) within the AJCU Network. The conferences provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and best practices; support the professional development of their members; and present opportunities for AJCU representatives to discuss collaboration and challenges in Jesuit higher education.

Most of the AJCU conferences host meetings at least once a year, and many of them facilitate regular communication among members through listservs. The following conferences and affiliated Jesuit programs and events will be held this summer:

Deusto Assembly 2018: Meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities
July 8-12, 2018: University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain
Click here to learn more.

AJCU Communication Deans
July 18-21, 2018: Saint Louis University
Host: April Trees, Saint Louis University
Phone: (314) 977-3144, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC)
July 18-21, 2018: Le Moyne College
Click here to register online.

24th Annual International Association of Jesuit Business Schools World Forum / 2018 Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education Annual Meeting
July 22-25, 2018: Seattle University
Click here to register online.

Jesuit Advancement Administrators
July 22-24, 2018: Loyola Marymount University
Chair: Doreen Riley, John Carroll University
Phone: (216) 397-1990, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

AJCU Human Resources Conference
September 10-13, 2018: Seattle University
Host: Michelle Clements, Seattle University
Phone: (206) 296-5869, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

TBD: Jesuit Alumni Happy Hours in Washington, D.C. and New York, NY (dates and locations to be announced soon!)

Please spread the word! On Saturday, June 16th, young alumni of Jesuit high schools, colleges and universities are invited to participate in a summer clean-up and reception at Nativity Preparatory School of Boston. Nativity Prep is Boston’s Jesuit middle school, providing a full-scholarship education to boys from low-income families and forming “men for others.” Cleaning supplies and gardening equipment will be provided. Parking is available; school easily accessible on the T Orange Line. Please contact Kevin Sullivan ( with any questions and to RSVP!

AJCU International Education Conference
May 28, 2018: Saint Joseph’s University
Chair: René Padilla, Creighton University
Phone: (402) 280-4745, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

Jesuit Enrollment Managers
June 3-5, 2018: University of San Francisco
Contact: Michael Beseda, University of San Francisco
Phone: (925) 457-6383, E-mail:

Jesuit Leadership Seminar
June 4-8, 2018: Loyola University Chicago
Director: Jeanne Fielding Lord
Phone: (202) 687- 2912, E-mail:
Click here to learn more.

AJCU Conference on IT Management (CITM)
June 10-13, 2018: Saint Louis University
President: Michael Bourque, Boston College
Phone: (617) 552-6060, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

2018 National CLC Jesuit University Conference
June 12-15, 2018: Boston College
Contact: Christine Kamp Cichello, Boston College
Phone: (617) 552-0855, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

AJCU Marketing & Communications Summit
June 13-15, 2018: Marquette University
Contact: Deanna Howes Spiro, AJCU
Phone: (202) 862-9893, E-mail:
Click here to register online.

AJCU Conference on Diversity & Equity
June 24-27, 2018: Marquette University
Chair: Darryle (DJ) Todd, Marquette University
Phone: (414) 288-4252, E-mail:
Click here to register online.