Alumni are the single most influential ambassadors of an institution, and at Lafayette, its 30,000 plus alums are critical to the strategic growth, brand, and competitiveness of the College. To better support their experience, Development and College Relations announced a restructure to ensure Lafayette is poised and ready to interact with the thousands of dedicated alumni who are  champions for the College each year through volunteer efforts and philanthropy.

“In order to advance the mission of the college, we recognized the importance of a modern and well-integrated engagement program,” explains Kim Spang, vice president of Development and College Relations. “Dedicated alumni help build Lafayette’s brand, sustain a strong admissions pipeline, strengthen loyalty, support career placement, and bolster overall advocacy for the College. With an already strong alumni engagement team, we knew this new structure would better support our efforts in both Alumni Relations and Development.”

The groundwork for this initiative began in 2018 when the College initiated a two-phase approach to assess alumni and parent engagement efforts through an Alumni Attitude Study. The results of this study provided insights into alumni opinions on a variety of areas including loyalty, programming, communications, and more. The division began phase two in 2019, which laid the groundwork for a strategic planning process to produce a five-year engagement plan. Subsequently, through the work of a College-wide task force and leading alumni engagement consultant Chris Marshall from Washburn & McGoldrick, the task force finalized a five-year strategic plan, including refining the mission, vision, and goals of Alumni Relations. The results and information learned from this multi-year process led to the restructure.

Bar graph showing the roles and responsibilities of alumni from the 2019 Alumni Attitude Study

Through the 2019 Alumni Attitude Study, Lafayette’s alumni provided perspectives and opinions related to engagement goals that advance the College mission.

“What we are seeing at all types of institutions is an increasing emphasis on building ‘integrated advancement’ models. The best institutions are connecting the dots between alumni engagement with the following areas: student recruitment and mentoring; career networking, internships, and placement; and fundraising, especially annual giving,” explains Chris Marshall, consulting partner with Washburn & McGoldrick. “Alumni can play a key role and drive measurable outcomes in all of these areas. It makes perfect sense to align this work more closely in an organizational structure, and that is exactly what Lafayette is doing.”

In addition to staffing adjustments, one of the recommendations that resulted from the recent study was to more strategically align the Alumni Association Board (formerly known as the Alumni Council) and leadership councils in order to provide clearer pathways for alumni volunteers. The new structure will enhance the volunteer experience, provide expanded leadership opportunities for volunteers, and is more inclusive by incorporating regional, affinity, parent, and student voices.

The following staff members began their new leadership roles on July 1. Longtime director of Alumni Relations Rachel Nelson Moeller ’88 P’21 now serves as executive director of diversity initiatives, volunteer experience, and talent strategy. Chad Davis serves as executive director of alumni engagement and annual giving, providing leadership to both annual and leadership giving and Alumni Relations. Arlina DeNardo serves as executive director of leadership councils and senior gift officer, overseeing the Alumni Association Board and leadership councils.

“I am excited for what the possibilities hold for Lafayette’s alumni as we look to expand opportunities for alumni to engage with their alma mater, grow their personal and professional networks, and impact the strategic goals of the College,” says Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17, president of the Alumni Association. “Through their new roles and responsibilities, Rachel, Chad, and Arlina each bring a wealth of knowledge and new ideas for engaging with the Lafayette community. The success of Lafayette hinges on strong relationships with our alumni and parents across the country and around the world, and we are poised to make that happen.”

If you are interested in learning more about alumni engagement and staying involved with Lafayette, contact Chad Davis at (610) 330-5036 or