Alumni Engagement Strategic Plan 2024-2027

Planning for a continuously thriving Denison

Denison University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges. And our graduates are well-respected leaders in their pursuits beyond The Hill. In short, we’re proud to call our alums Denisonians, and we strive to foster pride in their alma mater among our alums.
Through that lens and directly supporting the university’s strategic and operational priorities, the Alumni Engagement Strategic Plan is built to drive lifelong and meaningful connections to Denison.

A message from President Adam Weinberg

Our Mission

Drive lifelong engagement for a continuously thriving Denison.

Our Vision

For every Denisonian to feel proud of and committed to Denison.

Our Priorities

Foundations of Community

We will foster relationships and connections that are uniquely Denison in all stages of life.

  1. Infuse Denison spirit into the momentous lifetime events of our alums.
  2. Establish new pathways for community, uniting Denisonians with shared interests and life experiences.
  3. Strengthen Denison’s alumni traditions that celebrate the college.

Priority in action:

  • Let us know what’s new. Share your Big Red Good News with us and we might just share some Big Red swag.
  • See if you’re part of an affinity group. Were you in a student organization while at Denison? Do you want to reconnect with those who have shared interests or identities? Learn more about our work to support affinity groups and see how you can be part of it.
  • Get to campus this November. Don’t forget, Big Red Weekend is being reimagined as a homecoming experience for alums, and reunions for affinity groups will be a major part of this new, alumni-centric weekend. Make plans to be part of it this November 1-3.


Early Engagement

We will engage students throughout their journey into alum status to begin their lifelong relationship with Denison.

  1. Plant the seeds of lifelong connection and loyalty to Denison with current students.
  2. Establish meaningful engagement opportunities for young alumni.
  3. Foster a sense of community for young alumni through professional networking, affinity, and regional programming.

Priority in action:

  • Keep an eye out. If you’ve moved to a new city recently, you’ll want to attend our Welcome to the City events so you can build new connections near your new home. We also want alums of all class years to join in welcoming your city’s newest Denisonians. More details about these social gatherings will be shared over the summer and listed among our upcoming events.
  • Volunteer for your 0-4 year reunion. Young alumni, specifically the classes of 2024, 2023, 2022, and 2021 will want to make plans to attend dedicated experiences for them held over Big Red Weekend, November 1-3. We also need volunteers. If you’d like to help shape experiences for your class or stay in touch with your classmates, complete our volunteer interest form.
  • Sign up as a Reunion volunteer. Reunions are a cherished part of the Denison Alumni experience, and your five- and 10-year Reunions will be especially memorable. Reunions are only enhanced with your input. No matter when your next Reunion is, complete the volunteer interest form now, so we can check in with you as your class year committee is forming.
  • Get those application materials ready. Beginning this year, we will honor young alumni with the 10 Under 10 Award. Honorees will be recognized as part of the Big Red Weekend celebration November 1-3. We are currently accepting nominations through August 1.


The Professional Journey

We will help students launch into successful and meaningful careers while also elevating support for all Denisonians in their career journeys.

  1. Deepen existing partnership with the Knowlton Center, and determine clear paths forward to accomplish shared goals.
  2. Curate or create relevant programs and communities designed to support alumni and their careers.
  3. Make the Denison Alumni Network more accessible.

Priority in action:

  • Join an alumni career network, or two or three! New this spring, LinkedIn groups for those working in entrepreneurship, consulting, finance, and non-profit are meant to facilitate dialogue about the latest industry trends and topics among Denison’s alums, students, faculty, and staff who are interested in those fields. And for other connections, join Denison’s general LinkedIn group for alums, now 8,000 members strong.
  • Invest in your future. Grow your connections, be inspired, and meaningfully engage with other Denisonians by participating in a ReMix or Beyond the Hill event.
    • Beyond the Hill, June 26-27, in Washington, D.C.; New York; and Chicago
    • Arts ReMix, March 5-8, 2025, on campus (registration details will be available later this year)
  • Ask a question. All alums and students are encouraged to leverage Ask a Denisonian to build their networks, seek professional advice, explore new areas of interest, and more.
  • Earn a microcredential. Take advantage of Denison Edge, your place to upskill and earn stackable credentials. Alums from the last ten years can participate for free, and all alums can benefit from a 50% discount (use code DE50 at checkout). Denison Edge offers programs in Columbus and online.
  • Know Denison is here to help you. Familiarize yourself with all the professional resources available to help accelerate your career growth and increase your access to valuable opportunities.


Lifelong Engagement

We will offer enrichment programs centered around common interests for continued learning.

  1. Increase the offerings available that are designed to engage alums at every stage of their lives.
  2. Honor the skills, expertise, and talents of the Denison community through alumni and family events, volunteer opportunities, and communication.
  3. Develop a comprehensive regional engagement approach, identifying key regions to activate volunteers or host events of interest focused on community, service, and personal and professional development.

Priority in action:

  • Tell us what you want to know. Take this quick survey so we may plan virtual learning events of interest to you.
  • Find a regional network near you. Denisonians are everywhere and we’re partnering with alums to build stronger communities in 10 cities across the country, with more cities to come! Learn more about what’s in store and tell us about your interest in regional programming.
  • Plan an event, with help from Denison! We are all about getting Denisonians together. Even if you live in an area without a regional network, we want to help you meet fellow alums near you. We can partner with you to host an event in your area. Simply complete our regional events form to get started.


Volunteer Experience

We will enhance and expand meaningful and diverse volunteer opportunities.

  1. Build the infrastructure necessary to support a robust volunteer experience program that empowers our alums to be great champions for Denison.
  2. Leverage data to implement informed improvements to Denison’s volunteer experience, including better resourcing and training for staff, to create a consistently exceptional experience for all volunteers.
  3. Generate awareness of volunteer opportunities through the power of storytelling to both internal and external audiences.
  4. Enhance the effectiveness and success of our campus-wide alumni boards and councils.

Priority in action:

  • Find the right volunteer opportunity for you. Interests, time, skills, and availability change, but if you want to volunteer for Denison, we’re sure we can find a meaningful opportunity for you. Learn more about volunteer roles we need right now and complete our volunteer interest form.

Measurements of Success

Alumni engagement as an industry has evolved over the last several years, and so have best practices in measurement. Denison will continue to report on metrics established by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The CASE categories are:

  • Experiential: event attendance and program participation
  • Volunteer: completing a task or filling a role to benefit the university
  • Philanthropic: financial support
  • Communication: email click-throughs and social media engagement

We will build a dashboard to track these four key metrics in real-time. Furthermore, we will set engagement goals based on the CASE metrics for specific class years, affinity groups, regions, and underrepresented alumni groups. Finally, we will measure success with data that demonstrates the connection between engagement and giving.

Another crucial metric of the success of our efforts will be feedback from our alums.


Sallie Hutton Sistare

Executive Director of Alumni & Family Engagement


Jill Little

Assistant to the Executive Director