By Vjosa Isai
Every year at Ryerson’s convocation ceremony, graduates shift the tassels on their caps after receiving their diploma as a symbolic gesture of moving forward.
However, before they even get reach the stage exit, a shiny blue and gold alumni lapel pin is inserted into their graduation gown or sash by members of the Alumni Relations office. “We welcome you officially as part of our alumni family,” says the executive director, Tyler Forkes.
The Alumni Relations maintains strong relationships with alumni as they venture forth into their careers, while encouraging them to give back to the school that taught them. The office provides graduates with a variety of services, programs, and events designed to keep former students engaged in the Ryerson community.
Services made available to alumni range from discounted group rates on insurance to free workshops that offer helpful tips about how to better career opportunities.
The popular series workshop, “Blackboard to Boardroom,” tackles the challenge that alumni may face as they cross the threshold from student life into the “real world.”
Graduates can also take advantage of unique opportunities to reconnect with former classmates and stay up-to-date on Ryerson happenings through events like the Alumni Weekend, which annually takes place in late September.
Forkes says that more than 1200 alumni and friends joined them this year on campus tours, information sessions, visits to the Ryerson Archives and the Digital Media Zone (DMZ), a free barbecue lunch, a family skate at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, and a reception for honoured anniversary years.
Class reunions, organized by a volunteer alumnus, can also be prepared with help from Alumni Relations.
“They are great for networking,” says Mr. Forkes.
“And we also do alumni events right on site … to connect people,” like the coffee break they sponsored at the CBC.
Alumni Expo is another event offered by Alumni Relations, this time geared towards showing senior students the bonuses of being part of the alumni community at Ryerson.
Not only do alumni get access to free events, but graduates who have achieved outstanding success in their careers are rewarded by the university.
To reap the benefits of being a Ryerson alumnus or alumna, it is important for students to update their online files with information regarding their career, promotions, address, and other contact information.
“When people appreciate the difference that the Ryerson experience makes in their life … it just becomes a natural cycle. You are proud of where you went to school,” says Forkes.
Although the Alumni Relations department is not responsible for collecting donation cheques, the success of their operations impacts the development office.
“We’re all about building relationships,” says Forkes. “All that just naturally leads to giving back, whether that’s through advocacy, volunteerism, or philanthropic support, and [supporting] their alma mater as they are able.”
An investment fund set up by a university, hospital, church or nonprofit. Regular withdrawals are made for ongoing operations and they are funded by donations.
Anyone who benefits from something, in this case an investment like an endowment fund.
A percentage of corporate earnings paid as dividends (profit) to shareholders.
A grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of merit or achievement.
A type of scholarship that is awarded to a student to provide financial help.
The framework or structure of an system or institution, such as a university or college.