Meet Carolle and Marcie in Mount Allison’s Alumni Engagement Office
On Convocation Day, Mount Allison’s manager of alumni giving, Marcie Meekins (’12) is usually in the student centre helping frame diplomas.
“My favourite part is when there is a lull and (alumna and long-time volunteer) Barbie Smith (’75) regales the current students with stories from her generation and her parents’ generation. The students are always gobsmacked by what they used to get away with,” she says. “But I love the alumni stories and their ability to connect with current students.”
Meekins and Carolle de Ste-Croix (’90), Mount Allison’s director of alumni engagement and giving, both are Mount Allison alumnae who have returned to work at their alma mater in the Alumni Engagement Office.
“Being back here is different, but Mount Allison is always the same,” Meekins says.
Both say some events and traditions on campus are timeless.
“Move-in day is the same as it always was — the students and parents have the same expression on their faces,” says de Ste-Croix.
“The library is still packed at exam time,” adds Meekins.
“Everybody still goes to Mel’s and meal hall is still the social hub,” notes de Ste-Croix.
It’s that shared experience that helps connect Allisonians, no matter what year they graduated or where they currently live, and one of the things de Ste-Croix and Meekins most enjoy about their work.
Although they are charged with connecting with Mount Allison alumni, they frequently cross paths with current students.
“We work with the class executive and run Reunion and Convocation with them; we do the career mentorship program; and we have many, many student volunteers who work on events with us,” says de Ste-Croix, who also greets each graduate at Convocation and welcomes them as alumni with a Mount Allison graduation pin.
Meekins is responsible for managing the University’s annual giving program, which raises $1 million each year in gifts of less than $25,000 for scholarships, bursaries, athletics, the library, and other needs on campus.
She also works with the grad class executive on choosing and fund raising for the grad class gift — a Mount A tradition that sees the graduating class leave a legacy for future students.
De Ste-Croix notes the Alumni Engagement Office’s main goal, as the title implies, is to keep alumni engaged with the University.
“That can be anything that includes time or treasure — volunteering or donations — and we run programs that ensure students have all the best opportunities while at Mount Allison and when they leave Mount Allison,” she says.
Those include MtA Next Step, a network for young alumni; the Alumni Career Mentorship program, which pairs alumni with fourth-year students; and MANTRA, a program that sees alumni who are retired teachers assist in identifying prospective students.
Meekins has been working at Mount Allison for two years. After graduation, she worked for a non-profit, which gave her an invaluable background in fund raising.
“When I saw this job, I knew it was the job for me,” she says. “It was an opportunity to work at my alma mater, a place that I love and feel very passionately about, an opportunity to stay in Atlantic Canada, and an opportunity to contribute to other people having the same kind of experience I did.”
De Ste-Croix has been back at Mount Allison for the past 12 years. After graduation she went to grad school, spent two years in Iqaluit, then returned to work in her hometown in northern New Brunswick, where she also served a term as New Brunswick’s youngest female MLA.
“It is a privilege to work in post-secondary education,” she says. “And I wanted to live in Sackville. I wanted my children [daughter Gabrielle graduated from Mount Allison this spring] to have the opportunity to grow up in a place like Sackville and Mount Allison.”
De Ste-Croix says her job has been described as the “best alumni gig in the country” and with good reason.
“Our alumni are so engaged,” she says. “Working here has given me a deeper appreciation of how lucky I was to attend Mount A, a deeper appreciation of the town that houses this place, and a deeper appreciation for the staff — many of whom are behind the scenes — who make this place work.”
If you’re a recent grad, stay in touch with Mount A — take a minute to update your contact information: mta.ca/Alumni/Connect/Update_your_contact_information