Alumni Engagement rebrand highlights alumni achievements


Mohammed Islam

Alumni Engagement, formerly known as Alumni Relations, received a remodel to their office along photography editor with the rebranding in June of 2021. The new office, located in Somsen 206, is much more spacious and has a “theme of home sweet home,”

Gabriel Hathaway, Editor-In-Chief

There are currently over 66,000 Winona State University alumni living around the world to which Alumni Engagement, in conjunction with the WSU Alumni Advisory Board, work to provide services for.

Alumni Engagement, formerly known as Alumni Relations, received a remodel to their office along with the rebranding in June of 2021. The new office, located in Somsen 206, is much more spacious and has a “theme of home sweet home,” according to the Director of Alumni Engagement, Tracy Hale.

“We used to be called Alumni Relations, we are now called Alumni Engagement because it is really more about that relationship, it’s really about being that connector that helps make them stay engaged with the university,” Hale said.

As part of the remodel, the office features the slogan “Warriors Forever” and Winona State’s flaming “W” painted on the wall by alumni, Shelley Vondrasek class of 1989. “We wanted to make sure we have alumni presence in our office at all times,” Hale said.

The main goal of Alumni Engagement is to engage and connect alumni. Hale emphasized how personal the office is to each alumni.

“Really it’s finding what that person is passionate about and then developing something customizable just for them,” Hale said.

Alumni Engagement is there to help alumni with any needs they have. For example, an alumni may need a replacement diploma, class ring, or may be looking to get in contact with an old class friend or just wants to reflect on Winona State and look through old yearbooks. Alumni Engagement is there to help with all of that and more.

Alumni Engagement also offers a variety of other programs to help alumni. One example is the Warrior Network, an online platform that “is like if you took LinkedIn and Facebook together and made it completely all warriors,” according to Hale.

Hale commented that people should know about Alumni Engagement because, “If you graduate you become an alum.” The Alumni Engagement office has an active role on campus, offering scholarships to students every year, keynote presentations, homecoming events, being in charge of the Warrior Game Day Experience and more.

“I don’t want you to wait until your last day on campus for you to know what we do,” Hale said.

Hale continued to say, “It is never too late to get engaged with the alumni office, you know what I mean? It is never too early either. You can always stop in and see what types of programs we offer, and the Warrior Network is a great place to start.”

Many businesses in town are actually owned and operated by Winona State alumni. To name a couple, the ever popular coffee house, Blooming Grounds and Blooming Grounds Express, is owned by Amy Jo Marks class of 1996 and Muddy Waters Yoga is owned by Heather Beier, another alum.

Treedome Productions is a music, arts and entertainment focused studio that was founded in 2016 by a group of five Winona State students. Nathaniel Nelson, class of 2018, is the last remaining founding member of Treedome Productions.

“Part of it was we were still there, in terms of why we started in Winona. Essentially we were a bunch of artistic minded folks…and so we started collaborating on stuff and working on projects, putting on shows and stuff in town,” Nelson said. “Then we decided to just kind of make it official instead of doing it on the side.”

Treedome Productions made the move to Rochester from Winona in Mar. of 2021. Nelson commented how gratifying it is that
he gets to be his own boss when people in his trade (videographer/filmmaker) typically have to make corporate advertisements and promotional material for a boss.

Hale spoke highly of a specific “super warrior” alum, Waihon Liew class of 1991. Liew lives and works in Minneapolis to help refugees and people in underprivileged neighborhoods. Liew was instrumental in assisting Hale form a global warriors program. Liew also helps bring more students to Winona State, giving speeches, tours and working as a road warrior. Liew also runs into alums almost every weekend and has conversations about Winona State. Hale commented how there is something really special about Winona.

“There’s just something about Winona that feels good,” Hale said.