Alumni Board gives Kooistra vote of confidence

Posted on August 6, 2015

Move-in Kooistra with parent

Dr. Paul Kooistra left, talks with a parent.

The Erskine Alumni Association Board of Directors gave Erskine President Dr. Paul Kooistra a unanimous vote of confidence Saturday, August 1, during a meeting marked by “positive information, honest discussion, and optimism for the future of Erskine,” Alumni Director Buddy Ferguson ’82 reported this week.

Alumni Board members heard Kooistra’s presentation of plans for the future of their alma mater as well as a “clear and transparent explanation” of work with Erskine’s accrediting agency, a report on the Annual Fund’s success, and news of one of the largest freshman classes in Erskine’s history.

A.B. Byrds and Buddy

From left, Andy Byrd, Tyree Byrd ’88, Buddy Ferguson

Alumni Association President Andy Byrd ’88, who conducted the meeting, presided over the conversation, and Ferguson said Byrd was “always quick to refocus on what we as alumni can do today to help our alma mater.”

In one example of such efforts, the Student Services Committee of the Alumni Board plans to participate in the ENGAGE Campus and Community Fair on campus August 24. Alumni Board members will offer advice and assistance to students considering careers in business, education, finance, law, medicine, ministry, and more.

Mary Alex Senn Kopp ’11, who chairs the Student Services Committee, said the committee also hopes to work with Student Services to create a ‘career portal’ for students.

“The idea is to help us engage with current students and future alumni by creating a web portal they can access with information about the careers of other Erskine graduates,” she said. “We’re envisioning a one-stop shop where students can find career advice, mentors, and even internship opportunities, all within the Erskine network.”

Kopp noted that she and board member Corey Robinson ’11, who is on the Student Services Committee, had previously spoken about the need for Alumni Board members “to be more engaged with the student body” and found that the rest of the board agreed with them. The idea for the career portal came from another board member.

“It was a great meeting,” Kopp said. “I’m looking forward to what we can get done under Andy’s leadership.”

The Alumni Board enjoyed dinner in Moffatt Dining Hall Friday evening, some went on to a play at the Opera House in Abbeville.

AB Ann with bosses crop

Past and present alumni directors honoring longtime staff member Ann Hawthorne at the Alumni Board dinner July 31 were, from left, Monty Wooley ’67, Ralph Patterson, Buddy Ferguson ’82, and Lee Logan ’67. She began her career at Erskine in 1972 and is retiring in a few weeks.

New Alumni Board members elected at the April meeting of the Alumni Association included Jason B. Dees ’94; Westley D. McAllister ’89; Eleanor Chesnut Richardson ’59; Ellison M. Smith, Jr. ’61; Sharon E. Smith ’90; and Wendy Hermann Smith ’90 (Sem. ’96, ’98). Angie McNeill Grooms ’77 was chosen as president-elect, and Ann Clarke Judd ’74 was named secretary.