A new era of alumni leadership begins

Seated in the photo are President-elect Robert Suter, D.O.’89, M.H.A.’89, and President Marcia Grassman Hammers, B.H.A.’88. Standing from left are Niru Pandeya, D.O.’69; Vice President Gage Caudill, D.P.M.’05; Bernard Lang, D.O.’61; Sanford Zelnick, D.O.’80; Bruce Scudday, D.P.M.’89; Pam Harrison Chambers, M.P.H.’01, PAC’ 92; and Tiffany Hauptman, D.P.M.’98. Not available for the photo was board member Susan Schooler, PA-C’92.

As a health care consultant with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Marcia Grassman Hammers, B.H.A.’88, works with professionals across the health care spectrum. That’s why it makes sense, she says, to unite graduate representatives of all three DMU colleges into one unified alumni board.

The mission of the DMU Alumni Association Board of Directors is to build lifelong, interprofessional relationships that support the financial stability and future of our University, its mission and strategic plan initiatives.

“Health care is an interdisciplinary endeavor. So why not bring together alumni of all our programs to support the mission of our alma mater?” she says. She’s leading that effort as president of the DMU Alumni Association Board of Directors, which was created last year. Since then, its 10 members – each of whom completed an application process through the University’s alumni office to be accepted – have defined the board’s mission and bylaws and have begun work on board goals. Its top goal is to support the University’s mission and strategic plan, set for implementation this summer. Hammers is the alumni representative on DMU’s strategic planning steering committee.

“Once the University plan is set, we can dovetail the alumni board’s goals with it and also collaborate efforts with the alumni council leaders and class representatives to further engage alumni and support DMU,” she says.

Alumni board members recently reviewed information about DMU’s colleges, programs, their distinctions and challenges. “The board members bring great passion and commitment to serving as strong ambassadors for the University and supporters of its mission,” says DMU Alumni Director Ronnette Vondrak. “Their contributions affirm for me the need for all of our alumni to understand today’s DMU and then get involved.”

The advocacy role alumni can play was evidenced during the recent reaccreditation site visit of the Higher Learning Commission, says DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D.

“Alumni were part of our success in presenting a very comprehensive review of our strengths with an accompanying assessment of areas of opportunity,” she says. “The unified alumni board is a great accomplishment for us as we begin to live our mission as a united health sciences university community.”

Hammers, who met recently with the DMU Council of Student Body Presidents, adds, “It’s been fun getting to know other medical professionals through the alumni board members and our students. It’s exciting to have that range of perspectives engaged in collaboration and our collective success.”

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