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Fisher strives to reach more alumni

By Ilana Cedarbaum

Section: Arts

December 6, 2013

A new addition to the Brandeis community this year is Patsy Fisher, the new vice president for alumni relations. Fisher attended Dartmouth College for undergraduate and then gained a Master’s Degree in international relations from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Although she never thought that she would end up in the field of alumni relations, she was given an opportunity to go back to Dartmouth and translate her love for her school into work that she thought would have value to the institution.

After 25 years of working at her alma mater, Fisher decided to make a change and offer her professional experience to Brandeis. As her children were heading off to college, she felt that she should have her own adventure as well. “Working at Dartmouth was no longer a challenge for me,” Fisher said. “It was time to go to a place where I could make a difference.” After four years of lacking a position solely for managing alumni relations at Brandeis, her arrival has given the rest of the staff here a great sense of appreciation.

Fisher’s goal in terms of alumni relations at Brandeis is simple: engage as many alumni as possible. To do this, she wants to target Brandeis alumni’s traits to tailor her plans specifically to this institution. According to Fisher, there isn’t a strong sense of class identity at Brandeis, but one thing that stands true of Brandeis alumni is that when they visit campus, they become very involved. Fisher wants to use this trend to create affinity groups for alumni to join and reignite their passions, whether for social justice, athletics, performing arts or academic fields. “I want to create opportunities for people to come back and see the wonderful things happening here so that they want to be engaged with Brandeis and its mission,” Fisher said.

Programs that Fisher is currently hoping to implement include a lifelong learning and alumni education series that could potentially go online, as well as investing in reunions and homecoming. Fisher believes that investing in homecoming would allow both alumni and current students the opportunity to show their support and pride for Brandeis.

After a semester of working here at Brandeis, Fisher has not only enjoyed working with the staff and Brandeis alumni, but also noticed a difference between working at Brandeis compared to her previous employment at Dartmouth, a school with a long history of about 250 years. “Brandeis is young, and in its foundational years and to me, that’s exciting,” Fisher said. “It’s time to take alumni relations to the next level.”

For Fisher, taking it to the next level will require a focus on current students’ sense of pride for the university, which she hopes will translate into lifelong support and engagement. Fisher noted the sense of community that Brandeis students possess. “So many alumni I’ve met have said that their best friends are from Brandeis, and many even said that their spouses are their former classmates,” Fisher said. “I hope to help translate these relationships into support and pride for the institution.”

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