Calling all alumni! GCU is bringing events to you
Editor’s note: Reprinted from the August 2021 issue of GCU Magazine. To read the digital version, click here.
By Ashlee Larrison
As inspirational author and therapist Shannon L. Alder once said, “After every storm, there is a rainbow.” Alder’s words fit perfectly with a life-changing year for the world, and the Grand Canyon University community was affected by it, too.
After a unique 2020-21 academic year, the University is determined to find the rainbow after the storm.
After all the waiting for in-person events to pick up where they left off, GCU is hitting the ground running. Students, alumni, faculty and staff around the country can rest assured there is no shortage of in-person events.
From an expanded Lopes on the Road schedule to GCU’s first Day of Giving, there’s something for everyone to be excited about.
“We’re going absolutely full swing,” said Noah Wolfe, Director of Alumni Relations. “Just like everything else in the University, we are 100% all in on getting back to normalcy this year.”
With that return to normalcy comes the opportunity for Alumni Relations to not only bring back beloved in-person traditions that have been on a year-and-a-half hiatus, but also to make them bigger and better than ever before.
Wolfe is aiming for more than 70 events, about 35 to 40 of them out of state. But Lopes on the Road, which started in 2015, won’t be limited to athletic events.
“While athletic events will still be a core component of our Lopes on the Road program – and, honestly, a large percentage of the events we do will be athletics focused because our athletic culture is so special – there are places where our student-athletes aren’t going to play,” Wolfe said.
One of those places is Philadelphia, where alumni were invited to bring their family and friends to watch the Phillies play baseball at Citizens Bank Park.
There also are zoo days, beach days, a speaker series, Topgolf outings and watch parties. But athletics still is the biggest part of the program, of course, and the biggest of them all will be the WAC Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas in March. Alumni Relations is planning to arrange special deals on hotels, travel and tickets with a goal of again turning it into “Lope Vegas.”
Other developments scheduled to launch this year include a Young Alumni Chapter for graduates under age 28, a Young Alumni section joining the Havocs in GCU Arena and a monthly Chapel for alumni.
Wolfe also hopes to celebrate the older alumni demographic by reviving the Golden Lopes.
“I think a lot of times, there can be this notion that the University has changed so much, it’s not the same place our older alumni graduated from,” Wolfe said. “I would disagree with that. I would say that it is and that those individuals played a critical role in shaping where we’re at today.”
Homecoming again will be celebrated alongside Family Weekend in March and will feature a virtual option, which proved highly popular this year.
It’s part of Alumni Relations’ determination to celebrate graduates of all ages.
“It’s a year of thanks for us, and we’re beyond excited,” Wolfe said. “All of those people are valuable, all of those people play a critical role in GCU’s story, and all of them deserve to have programming that is custom tailored to their preferences, which is what we want to do.”
Part of this new chapter for Alumni Relations and the Office of Advancement is a new annual event on campus.
On Oct. 21, GCU will hold its first Day of Giving, allowing each of the colleges and campus programs the opportunity to raise money for projects and/or scholarships.
“Fall is nice. It’s not blazing hot, so it’s more pleasant to be outside,” said Cherylann Galdi, Director of Annual Giving. “Students will be on campus for a while, all the welcome stuff will be done, so they’ll be ready to have something else that’s fun.”
The event will be a 24-hour fundraising extravaganza with activities such as livestreams, a movie night and a “purple carpet” with GCU celebrities.
The Day of Giving also will welcome alumni and online students to participate in the festivities, both online and on campus. “It’s a celebration of all things GCU all day,” Galdi said.
The hope is that the rainbow is in sight and the road will be clear … finally.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].
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