As with many Wesleyan alumni, my first involvement with Wesleyan after graduation came through the Office of Admission. Although Wesleyan is some- what of a secret in Michigan, I was able to meet several aspiring applicants each year. Because high school students have so much more information at hand than we had back in my day (No Facebook! No Internet! And only birds tweeted!), they tend to know enough to determine that Wesleyan might be a good fit and often already seem like Wesleyan students.
Several years after graduation, I was invited to serve on the Trustee Nominating Committee, an arm of the Alumni Association that chooses the candidates who run for alumni-elected positions on the Board of Trustees. The committee was made up of alumni from various classes, parts of the country, and professions, ranging from Fred Taylor ’63 (an economics major who was vice chair and chief investment officer at U.S. Trust Corporation, New York City) to Lael Brainard ’83 (a CSS major who is now Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.) to Alford Young ’88 (an African-American studies/psychol- ogy /sociology major who is now a pro- fessor in Ann Arbor, Michigan).
More recently, I served for nine years on the Board of Trustees. Again, I met people from Florida to California to Chicago to New York, from the Class of 1955 to the Class of 2003, from medical ethicists to founders of nonprofits to college presidents to Hollywood hot- shots to bankers to entrepreneurs, from CSS majors to English to pre-med to his- tory majors.
But amazingly, across the country, across the years, and across professions, Wesleyan alumni have some common characteristics: First, these people all seem remarkably good at what they do. Second, they are all really passionate about something other than work—it might be the environment, politics, sail- ing, training dogs, or writing children’s stories. And third, they can always make me laugh.
So if you haven’t been back to Wesleyan for a while, head to Middletown for Homecoming, a concert, or a Reunion. If Connecticut is too far away, find your local alumni group and attend a talk given by a Wesleyan professor or a reception. If your town doesn’t have a critical mass of Wesleyan folk, interview a prospective student. And if you are on a remote island with no other people, go online to Wesconnect and read a few columns or watch a few videos. You’ll find people enough like you to make you feel at home, and enough different to be interesting. And you’ll be glad you did.
Megan Norris ’83 Chair, Wesleyan Alumni Association firstname.lastname@example.org