ISSUED: 17 March 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s new director of alumni affairs is excited to begin her job and is hoping to encourage more graduates to become involved with their alma mater. Kim Hutto, who started work on March 6, comes to Shepherd from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia.
“The people I’ve met here have been very welcoming,” Hutto said.
Hutto has worked in alumni relations since 1999. Prior to Mary Baldwin, she held positions at Middle Tennessee State University, James Madison University, and Oregon State University. She has a B.S. in speech communication and an M.A. in English from Middle Tennessee State.
At Shepherd, Hutto will work with the Alumni Association Board of Directors to entice more graduates to become involved with Shepherd.
“I’m interested in meeting alumni and hearing their stories,” Hutto said. “I look for alumni to pay it forward, to be engaged with our current students, and do what they can to help Shepherd in the future.”
Hutto has been studying the Alumni Association’s new strategic plan, which encourages more collaboration among the association, the university, and the community; more alumni involvment in helping to recruit and mentor students; and increasing awareness of sustaining membership in the association. Hutto also brings some ideas from her previous jobs.
“I’m interested in engaging alumni with current students in terms of increasing internships and mentoring opportunities and by having alumni help recruit students to attend Shepherd,” Hutto said. “Alumni can talk about their experiences at Shepherd, write welcome letters to students who have been accepted, and participate in college fairs and senior sendoffs.”
Hutto discovered Shepherd last year when she and a couple of friends made a day trip to Shepherdstown on a Saturday when there happened to be a home football game. Hutto noticed people roaming the streets wearing their Shepherd gear, so she began researching the university. Hutto likes that Shepherd is a liberal arts institution, that it’s a smaller school with a big vision, and that it offers an opportunity to grow alumni engagement—something she feels is important to do.
“I call it degree equity,” Hutto said. “Your university is really valued for what the degree gives to you as a graduate. If you speak well of your school, that’s only going to help build that equity for you and others.”
Hutto, who is a first-generation college student herself, said alumni are a university’s most loyal constituents and are uniquely situated to tell the university’s story and support current students through donations and volunteer efforts.
“It’s very important, especially with the current economy, to give back and help students,” she said. “That’s the best way to make an impact.”
When she’s not working to improve alumni relations between the university and its graduates, Hutto enjoys writing poetry, painting, seeing movies and plays, and traveling.
“I’m passionate about travel,” she said. “I’m an international traveler. That’s something I’d like to see here—an alumni travel program. It’s something I’ve done at other schools and I’d like to explore that here.”
As she settles into her new job at Shepherd, one piece of the culture and tradition is very familiar to her.
“I was a ram when I was at Thurman Frances Junior High in Smyrna, Tennessee,” she said. “Our colors were blue and gold and our mascot was the ram—so maybe it was meant to be.”
Listen to the interview HERE.
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