By Callie Ewing, BA '03 MH '22
This past year, the NAB added a Class Agent and Regional Representative committee, which was tasked with launching a reinvigorated alumni engagement program with the support of the Office of University Advancement. Werth is chairing the committee this year.
“When I was asked to help lead the development of the Class Agent program, it was quite easy for me to say, ‘Yes!’,” she said. “UD graduates have a wonderfully unique shared experience that includes the Core Curriculum, the Rome Program, faith formation, Groundhog and more. The program allows for alumni volunteers to help keep their respective alumni networks connected, whether that be through their graduation class or within their area of the country.”
The program’s goal is to increase communication, engagement and participation in all things UD. Among other things, Class Agents will help gather their classmates back to UD’s Irving campus for Alumni and Family Weekend, usually held annually in October. Regional Representatives will work to connect alumni in their area for Groundhog celebrations, represent UD at college fairs and promote EnCore events or other UD-related speaking engagements. Both segments will also help promote the annual Cor Challenge, scheduled this year for March 23-27.
Gina (Bonanno) Morrison, BA ’85, moved naturally into the role of official agent for her class, as she had been fulfilling this duty unofficially already for years. As she explained, the Class of 1985 has always been very social, regularly getting together for events or celebrations or just because. Several reunions ago, they started the tradition of always having an after-party or some other type of get-together at the home of Jim Martin, BA ’85. Morrison always helped organize these parties and ended up being the person who would contact everyone to let them know, so she compiled a list of everyone’s email addresses.
“It wasn’t an official list,” explained Morrison. “I knew the Class Agent program had existed at some point and was friends with the people who were agents then, but I don’t really remember what they did. Over the past 15 years or so I had become the de facto communicator for our class. People started contacting me to let everybody know when something would happen to somebody.”
Then, in October, Werth reached out to Morrison and said, “I heard you wanted to be a class agent!”
Morrison immediately agreed and recruited Linda (Derdeyn) Jackson, BA ’85, to join her. One of their first projects as official Class of 1985 agents was to help with the establishment of the Class of 1985 Endowed Scholarship.
“I do it because it automatically makes me in-the-know and helps me to keep myself connected. I like being the person who gets to share — not being the bearer of bad news, but when news needs to be shared, I’m glad to help,” said Morrison. “I like being in a position to help keep our class connected, because not everyone has time to be proactive about staying in touch.
“It used to be that being a UD ‘lifer’ was a bad thing,” she laughed. “Now I am a lifer, but it doesn’t have a bad connotation anymore. All of this stems from a love for UD as the place that brought us all together.”
“I can honestly say that of all the people I have known in my life, UD alumni are the most interesting, fun and intellectually stimulating, and I would imagine that I’m not alone in this assessment!” said Werth. “If through this new program and with the support of UD’s Advancement Office, more alumni are able to connect, interact, celebrate, learn from each other and participate in growing the Cor Fund, then that would mean this endeavor is a success.”
Learn more about becoming a Class Agent or Regional Representative.