Alumni Association Elects New Officers

News Story: January 17, 2013

The Sacred Heart University Alumni Association has announced the election of new officers to its Executive Council for the 2009 to ’11 term, including the first alumnus of the university’s Stamford campus to serve in a council position.

The new council officers are: Tom McCabe ’99, chairperson; Cheryl Janus ’01 and ’03 MAT, vice chairperson; Claudette Thompson ’98 (Stamford campus), secretary; and Naira Azpiri ’03, treasurer.

“While I still plan to keep many of our faithful members engaged, I am happy to be working with such an energetic group who truly love Sacred Heart and are excited to serve,” says Kristy M. Pacelli ’02, SHU’s director of Alumni Relations. “We’re sad to see our outgoing group go, but we’re also excited to see a new board. They have great energy, they love Sacred Heart, and they’re really excited to be part of the board and to help drive alumni relations to the next level.”

Pacelli is also excited that more younger alumni were interested in participating on the board, as their involvement could help spur other more recent alumni to become active with the association. “The younger alumni usually get lost, because they’re the ones that are busy starting their families and getting into their professional lives,” she says. “We’re hoping when people start seeing some of the officer names as people they knew as students, then we will hopefully have a better time capturing that group that we seem to understandably lose a little bit.”

McCabe, who previously served two terms as vice chairperson of the council (as well as Student Government president while an undergrad), agrees that attracting new alumni is a priority. He says the council plans to reach out to that population through all means of modern communication, including broadening the scope of the Alumni Association’s Facebook page to include interest-based sub-groups.

“We need to grow our younger population while still trying to reconnect with the older alumni,” McCabe says. “I think the main way to do that is to invite alumni to more events, to have them present at more than just a homecoming. That makes people feel connected again. It’s all about communications and reconnecting, and I think our council is going to be able to help develop that.”

McCabe’s additional plans include arranging more alumni business-networking events (for other alumni as well as current students), redeveloping the on-campus Student Alumni Council, and having the council meet more often (perhaps as often as once a month). His hope is that the growth of the association becomes self-perpetuating.

“The alumni voice needs to be on campus, we need to see that the alumni is active,” McCabe says. “Once the undergrads see that, they’re going to want to be involved immediately upon graduation. And that’s the way to pick up speed going forward.”

The new officers bring varied backgrounds to their roles with the council. McCabe is an attorney residing in Stratford. Janus is an assistant director of Residential Life at Seton Hall University. Thompson has extensive experience in community service. And Azpiri is a business development manager at Softtek Integration Systems.

The Sacred Heart University Alumni Association maintains a membership of 28,000. Officers serve two-year terms, with a limit of two terms, and are elected by members of the association.