DMU moves to give alumni a greater voice

In recent years, DMU’s three alumni boards –one for each college – have generated benefits and opportunities for fellow alumni and students. They played lead roles in launching the University’s Alumni of the Year awards and a growing alumni-student mentor program, to name just a few. Now the University is restructuring the boards to sustain the good works of these alumni volunteers, give all graduates an even greater voice and create opportunities for more alumni to get involved withtheir DMU college and the University.

By May 1, DMU will have one alumni association board of directors with graduates of each college. In addition, the University is creating three college alumni councils to help with college-specific needs and programs.

“Des Moines University has been fortunate to have dedicated, passionate alumni volunteers who have given their time, hard work and commitment to the University and the alumni boards they have served,” says Ronnette Vondrak, director of alumni relations. “The new board structure is intended to best meet the needs of alumni, while complementing the DMU strategic plan.”

That was the goal of DMU’s governing entity, the board of trustees, who last year established an alumni task force to analyze the efficiencies and effectiveness of having one alumni board. In March, the trustees approved the task force’s proposed new structure, bylaws and mission of the alumni board, which are posted on DMU’s alumni website.

“We had a good system before, but wewanted a better mechanism for alumni who weren’t on a board to participate at the University,” says Robert Suter, D.O.’89, M.H.A.’89, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern and a member of the former College of Osteopathic Medicine alumni board.

The new college councils means “additional alumni will be needed to participate,” adds Marcia Hammers, B.H.A.’88, who has served on the College of  Health Sciences alumni board since 2008. That’s a good thing for everyone, she notes.

“Since answering a ‘call-for-board-members’ e-mail a few years ago, I have been overwhelmed by the positive growth and energy I see and feel on campus,” she says. “Interaction with fellow health care professionals outside of daily routines has contributed to my professional and personal growth.”

Hammers, a major account consultant at Wellmark Inc. in Des Moines, says integrating the three college alumni boards also “will further illustrate the ability of health care professionals to cohesively work to develop and support initiatives that enhance student learning opportunities.”

Members of the new alumni association board, anticipated to be finalized this summer, will be posted on the DMU alumni website and featured in a future issue of DMU Magazine. In the meantime, Vondrak says the University, its students and employees are “deeply grateful” to all members of the college alumni boards.

“Throughout DMU’s history, these selfless individuals created and strengthened traditions of alumni engagement and service to the University,” she notes. “Thanks to their dedication and hard work, these traditions and the impact alumni have will continue to grow.”

DMU salutes its heroes: alumni board members

The University is grateful for the leadership, service and hard work of members of the DMU college alumni boards, listed below, as well as to all alumni who served in the past.

College of Health Sciences
• Sue Schooler, PA-C’92, president
• Marcia Hammers, B.H.A.’88, president-elect
• Pamela Harrison Chambers, M.P.H.’01, PA-C’92, past president
• Mary Carr Peterson, M.S., PA-C’04
• Jami Haberl, M.H.A.’01, M.P.H.’03
• Elizabeth Harden, D.P.T.’06
• Sarah Pavelka, M.H.A.’01
• Cathy Peterson, M.S.P.T.’91
• Deann Sheppard, M.H.A.’04
• Cynthia Tice Swoyer, M.P.H.’07

College of Osteopathic Medicine
• Linda Greenspan, D.O.’90, president
• Robert Suter, D.O.’89, M.H.A.’89, president-elect
• Colin Irish, D.O.’98, past president
• Andrew Adair, D.O.’98
• Gilbert Bucholz, D.O.’58
• Nandi Chenik, D.O.’94
• Greg Cohen, D.O.’91
• Charles “Chip” Finch, D.O.’94
• William Franklin, D.O.’94
• Lester Goldblum, D.O.’79
• Teresa Hubka-Dunkas, D.O.’89
• Troy Ivey, D.O.’89
• Nirmalendu K. Pandeya, D.O.’69
• Dragomir Mijic, D.O.’12, student representative
• Chris Peluso, D.O.’13, student representative

College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery
• Lisa Rechkemmer, D.P.M.’92, president
• Tiffany Hauptman, D.P.M.’98, president-elect
• Tom Wicks, D.P.M.’94, past president
• Gage Caudell, D.P.M.’05
• Kathleen Satterfield, D.P.M.’91
• Phillip Ward, D.P.M.’88
• Ashley Smith, D.P.M.’12, student representative

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