With over 12 cities visited across the United States, EC President Troy VanAken's road trip to connect with alumni is coming to an end with its final two stops, Chicago and Milwaukee.
The goal of the President’s road trip, which kicked off with its first stop in St. Louis early November, is to update alumni about the new happenings on campus and share EC’s goals for the upcoming 2021 sesquicentennial anniversary.
“The college has never embarked on a project like this and, judging by the turnout at our events and everyone’s enthusiasm, I would say it’s been a very successful effort,” said Valerie Day, vice president for institutional advancement, in an email interview with The Leader. “We hope to do something similar during our sesquicentennial celebration in 2021.”
The road trip also informed alumni about the President’s Circle, an elite donor circle that currently has 400 members and aims to raise the Elmhurst College’s Annual Fund to $1 million per year in 2021 for student scholarships.
“Reaching that goal means that we’ll have a consistent, steady source of scholarship funds that will be immediately available for our students,” explained VanAken in an email interview with The Leader.
According to VanAken, the trip also boosted donations for Giving Day, EC’s annual fundraising initiative that raised a record total of $346,586 this year.
While the trip did inform alumni about the President’s Circle and Giving Day, the main goal was to connect with alumni—from recent graduates to people who graduated almost 50 years ago.
“It’s been amazing to see how many alumni we have all over the country—it demonstrates what our students have gone on to do with their careers and lives,” said VanAken.
For VanAken, the most memorable stop was San Francisco which took place February 12. “...Our guests included not only alumni but also parents of current students, as well as friends of the college,” added VanAken. “It was great to see so much Bluejay representation on the West Coast.”
The trip has also provided an exchange of unique stories.
“I’ve enjoyed hearing the stories and memories of all the former students who’ve called Elmhurst College home,” said Day. “Twice, now, I’ve heard stories—maybe urban legends, maybe not—of a cow ending up on top of the Chapel. Also a VW Bug.”
On June 6, the team will head to Chicago and then Milwaukee on June 20 for their final stop.
“I’m looking forward to the Road Trip event in Chicago because it will have our largest crowd—we’ve received more than 100 RSVPs so far,” said VanAken. “I’m also looking forward to the event in Milwaukee because it’s connected to the UCC General Synod, which is taking place at the same time and which I’m looking forward to attending.”