Homecoming 2017 will be Last Hurrah for Director of Alumni Engagement
The University of Olivet will be losing its number one alumna come November when Marty (Mason) Jennings ’67 retires after 15 years as director of alumni engagement. She recently announced that Homecoming 2017 weekend will be her last hurrah before relocating to the Minneapolis area to be closer to her two sons and seven grandchildren.
Looking Forward to Family Time
“Now is the perfect time to retire. I started at The University of Olivet in November, and 15 years later I’ll leave in November,” Marty said. “My seven grandchildren are 11 months, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 14. I want to be a part of their lives as they grow up. I will certainly miss The University of Olivet and the wonderful friends I have made over the years; however, I look forward to having my family as my primary focus in the years ahead.”
Marty will definitely miss the memories shared by alumni across generations. “I love connecting and meeting our alumni and hearing their stories. Young or old, all alumni have a story, and I’m grateful to be the one they often share their Olivet memories with,” she said.
OC’s #1 Alumna
Marty has plenty of stories to share, too. She’s a walking archive of names, graduation years, faculty, significant dates, historical events, and even a few legends. Ask her about any graduate or campus building and Marty will have a fascinating story to share, often times ending in lots of laughter.
“Marty has defined alumni affairs at The University of Olivet for many years. Her love of The University of Olivet and the people who love The University of Olivet has inspired many Olivetians and me,” said President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D. “She’s worked hard and tirelessly on behalf of all of us and I’m pleased to wish her well as she begins this new phase. She may be leaving us as an employee, but she’ll continue to be our number one alumna.”
Marty, who grew up in Akron, Pennsylvania, earned her fine arts degree in 1967. Within a year of graduating, she was a buyer for a major department store in Baltimore. She also spent seven years in Hawaii, where she was a department store buyer. Prior to returning to Olivet in 2002, she lived in Pittsburgh and worked as a merchandiser for Vanity Fair and served as a tour manager on cross-country road tours and cruises.
Even years after graduating, moving back east, working, and raising two boys, Marty remained dedicated to The University of Olivet. She happily planned reunions, eagerly reconnected with college friends, and remained devoted to her Soronian sisters. In 2002, Al Nagy ’68, former vice president for advancement, left Marty a phone message asking her to call. “I didn’t think much of it. I thought he wanted my help tracking someone down,” she said with a laugh. “When he asked if I wanted to interview for the alumni position, I didn’t hesitate. Suddenly it’s 15 years later. It’s been an incredible experience.”
New Adventures Ahead
Don’t think that Marty will be taking it easy in retirement. First on her list of things to do is to adopt a canine companion to train as a certified therapy dog. “I want to have a therapy dog to take into children’s hospitals, nursing homes and veterans hospitals to bring some joy to those who can’t be at home.” In addition, Marty is already connecting with Soronian sisters and other OC alumni who live in the Minneapolis area and is looking forward to OC gatherings. “I’m not worried about making friends or not knowing anyone,” she laughed.
“I had the privilege of joining the The University of Olivet Development staff a few months after Marty was hired and we instantly became great friends, co-workers and shared our mutual love for The University of Olivet. Marty has served the college unselfishly in countless ways over the years. I have witnessed her devotion to our students and alumni, many times behind the scenes, in ways that only she could convey,” said Pam Heos ’77, alumni council president and board of trustees ex-officio. “As president of the Alumni Council I am sad to see Marty leave The University of Olivet, but I know she will remain close, steadfast and devoted in her love of The University of Olivet. She is the perfect role model for all alumni to aspire to be in serving our alma mater.”
When asked to describe her 15 years in three words, Marty said, “Engaging, challenging and rewarding. There is so much variety in this job and you have the opportunity to be involved in all areas of the college. And, of course, you meet so many alumni and make new friends literally from around the world. I never tire hearing their stories, it’s always fascinating to me!”
Search Underway for New Director of Alumni Engagement
The search for a new director of alumni engagement is underway, beginning with a search committee being assembled with cross campus and volunteer participation. The goal is to have the incoming director in place in September, prior to Homecoming weekend. Questions regarding the director of alumni engagement search should be directed to BJ Hull, vice president for advancement, at 269.749.7535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.