ISSUED: 9 September 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University has named Katie (Swayne) Gordon its director of alumni affairs. A 2012 Shepherd graduate, Gordon is excited to be at the helm of the alumni office for her alma mater.
Gordon, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, previously served as Shepherd’s alumni and annual giving coordinator, working on numerous alumni events and programs, as well as with the Alumni Association board of directors. Prior to joining the staff at Shepherd, Gordon worked for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in the Hampshire County office.
“I’ve been in the Office of Alumni Affairs five and a half years now, so it’s something I’ve been working toward,” Gordon said. “I’m excited. I’ve been working with the board members for a few years, so they know me well. I feel like we will work well together and can get some new things implemented. There are exciting things to come.”
Gordon believes the fact that she’s an alumna will help her succeed in her new position.
“I have prior knowledge of a different side of the university,” she said. “I’m not just seeing the business side; I’m seeing it from the students’ perspective as well, and being a younger alum graduating in 2012, there’s not a huge gap so I feel like a lot of things that I experienced during my time here is still the same for current students.”
Gordon grew up in Keyser and graduated from Keyser High School in 2008. She transferred to Shepherd after spending two years at Potomac State College.
“When I came here, I really felt like I had found where I needed to be and it’s definitely where I wanted to be,” Gordon said. “Coming back here for a job and now being named director, I think is just perfect for my life. It’s not a career path I thought I’d ever take, but it’s definitely one that fits well and I’m really enjoying it.”
Gordon said all the jobs she’s had have been customer service oriented, and she feels running the Office of Alumni Affairs is an extension of that experience. She also enjoys planning events for alumni.
“It’s the best part of the job,” she said. “I enjoy getting to see people come back and tell their stories and hearing the crazy stories of the older alums, like those from the ’60s and ’70s. They just want to tell you all about how Shepherd was back in the day and compare notes of how it is now and what’s changed. You get a lot more history in this job than you would think. That’s the fun part of it.”
Gordon said she comes into this new position with ideas. She would like to create more interesting opportunities for younger alumni and specifically for networking between alumni and students.
“We don’t have a whole lot of student interaction currently, so I’d like to bring them into the fold, let them know what we’re about, so when they graduate, they aren’t just scratching their head wondering what the Alumni Association does,” Gordon said. “They’ll know ahead of time and be more excited about participating.”
Gordon said popular activities such as the annual golf tournament and regular Homecoming events will continue, as will the newly created travel program, which is planning a second trip to Portugal in 2021.
“I really want to ramp up that program and offer more trips in the future—maybe several a year,” Gordon said. “It offers the opportunity for alumni to travel and see the world with fellow alums and friends of the university.”
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