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April 3, 2013

Purdue Alumni Association expanding international networks

Mary Dennis

Mary Dennis, vice president for international alumni programs. (Purdue University photo/Allyson Corbat)
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The Purdue Alumni Association is pursuing a vision in which it will increase its numbers of and connections to international alumni networks and alumni ambassadors living abroad.

Expanded efforts are under way to reach out to as many of Purdue's more than 16,000 international alumni -- who live in a total of 176 countries -- as possible, says Mary Dennis, vice president for international alumni programs. Although Purdue Alumni has been reaching out to these graduates for years, in the past few months it has ramped up its efforts to do so.

In early 2012, Purdue Alumni had established relationships -- meaning it was in regular contact with one or more Purdue graduates -- with alumni in 40 countries. Now, the association has relationships with alumni in 55 countries.

Purdue Alumni's relationships with international graduates are increasing in number every day, Dennis says.

"One of our top priorities is to expand and improve our international alumni database," Dennis says. "By increasing the number of our international networks and ambassadors, we will be able to develop better records of our alumni who live overseas.

In many countries with a strong Purdue alumni presence, there are long-established, active networks made up of many graduates. In some countries, one alumnus or alumna -- called a Purdue ambassador -- represents the local alumni.

Purdue Alumni's networks and ambassadors are important, Dennis says, for several reasons.

For example, the networks and ambassadors provide:

* A way for alumni living overseas to remain connected to Purdue and to each other.

* Networking and social opportunities for alumni and students who live -- or wish to live -- overseas after graduating, or for students who wish to study abroad.

* Valuable resources for faculty and staff when they travel abroad.

* Helpful information to prospective students from their home countries.

In addition to ongoing global outreach, the association is collaborating with international student groups, their leaders and many West Lafayette campus partners to assist efforts to reach more alumni living abroad.

"We have found that many of our international students are already connected with Purdue alumni in their home countries, and that those students can share their information with us," Dennis says.

"We've always encouraged Purdue alumni to remain connected to Purdue while in their home countries. Now, though, we want them to be aware of how we can assist them with staying connected before they graduate. Moreover, we hope that these involved students will become leaders, ambassadors and members of our alumni networks once they graduate."

International alumni who would like to establish a relationship with the association -- or current faculty and staff who would like to pass along their international alumni contacts -- should email Dennis at mfdennis@purdue.edu.

More information about Purdue Alumni's international alumni networks and ambassadors is available at www.purduealumni.org/international.

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu