Alumni & Family Engagement Strategic Plan 2024-2027

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 & Family Engagement Strategic Plan is built to drive lifelong and meaningful connections to Denison.

This plan demonstrates our commitment to the following values: connection, authenticity, excellence, inclusion, collaboration, and innovation.

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 alumni.
  2. Establish new pathways for community, uniting Denisonians with shared interests and life experiences.
  3. Strengthen Denison’s alumni traditions that celebrate the college.

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.

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.

Lifelong Engagement

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

  1. Increase the offerings available that are designed to engage alumni 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.

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 alumni 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.

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.

Download or read the full plan below.


Sallie Hutton Sistare

Executive Director of Alumni & Family Engagement


Jill Little

Assistant to the Executive Director