Have you ever sat next to someone at a crowded airport and in casual conversation learned that you shared something in common—graduation from UIndy, for instance? Or, have you ever recognized a face at a reunion or UIndy alumni party, realizing that it was someone you hadn’t seen for 10 or 50 years, then crossed the room to say hello and embark on a wonderful journey of remembering old times and catching up?
Have you ever volunteered your time with a UIndy student, sharing your knowledge about career opportunities in the subject you majored in or the company or industry you represent? Over the years, I have observed and/or taken part in situations like these and many others. They are just a small part of what has given me a great deal of joy in my work in alumni relations. Scenarios like these at UIndy are among the many opportunities that I look forward to as your new director of Alumni Relations.
Part of what makes alumni relations so fun and fulfilling is making connections with others by sharing our stories. Personal anecdotes, short or long, help us build the bridge to common understanding, efficient and excellent work, and, ultimately, friendship. So, as we begin this journey together, I invite you to share your stories with me. I’m very curious about the student and alumni culture here and about each of you, as individuals.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
Who are the UIndy professors who most profoundly touched your lives, and why?
What are the stories of the best, the bravest, the funniest at UIndy—even the ones you thought you’d never tell?
As for me, I’m a Colorado native who lived in the Cornhusker State of Nebraska for nearly three decades after earning my undergraduate degree there, at Concordia University, in 1984. I’ve traveled fairly widely throughout the U.S., have visited only two locations outside the States (both in Canada), and have aspirations of seeing many other parts of the world. Among my personal interests are reading novels, watching movies, baking sourdough, quilting, and gardening.
Before joining the UIndy staff, I worked for three institutions of higher education: Concordia University of Nebraska, the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, and Nebraska Wesleyan University (twice). Following a progression through the worlds of college admissions, university publications, and nontraditional student program management, I served as Nebraska Wesleyan’s director of Alumni Programs.
That experience is what has led me here. While alumni relations typically isn’t a career field that one aspires to from childhood, I seem to have come into it through a natural tendency toward hospitality and creativity and a series of a career steps that have built on each other to what I feel is my ultimate opportunity.
Now, in this new adventure in my career and life journey, I have a lot to learn about you and UIndy. I hope you will be my patient and willing teachers. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, meeting you, and learning your story in person.
Natalie A. Cummings