University of Michigan-Flint Alumni Relations
The Office of Alumni Relations adds value to the alumni experience through fostering university spirit and managing communications. Our programs are designed to build leadership, create traditions, support students, and foster connections among our 40,000 alumni. Our office, in collaboration with the University of Michigan Alumni Association, is your tie to the Leaders and Best.
The University of Michigan has the largest living alumni body of any university in the world, and that group includes all those that graduated from UM-Flint as well.
But there’s something that sets University of Michigan-Flint graduates apart from the rest: their commitment to giving back.
Alumni volunteers are the heart of UM-Flint’s Alumni Relations office and play a major role in nearly every university-wide event held on campus. From “Go Blue on the Bricks” to commencement, UM-Flint alumni continue to create and sustain signature programs with their dedication, expertise, and enthusiasm.
The University of Michigan-Flint certainly has its own distinctive identity and culture that differentiates it from the campuses in Ann Arbor and Dearborn. But come Saturdays in the fall, there is one thing that always connects students and alumni, faculty and staff, local residents and fans across the globe: Michigan football.
Since Michigan began competing in intercollegiate football in 1879, students and alumni have flocked to games, first at Regents Field, then Ferry Field, and now Michigan Stadium. And, for more than 60 years, UM-Flint has made it a tradition of our own to head down to Ann Arbor to support the Wolverines.
Jessica Kelts, PhD, associate professor in UM-Flint Chemistry and Biochemistry, is known for her research with human cells. She’s also known for the ways in which she involves her undergraduate students in hands-on research. Last year, she received the happy news that her work would have unprecedented support from the Ben F. Bryer Foundation—allowing her to continue making important contributions to her field while giving UM-Flint students life-changing experiences.
Houston native and alumna LaTanya Hughes (’09) has the distinction of being one of the first eight people to ever live on the UM-Flint campus. In 2008, when the campus opened its first residential hall, Hughes was hired as one of eight resident advisors (RA). She credits that experience, and the support of her faculty, as the reason she will be connected to UM-Flint for the rest of her life.
Steve Whitener hasn’t forgotten the support he received as a college student at UM-Flint in the 1970s. He was slated to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in business. He worked 32 to 40 hours a week at Kroger to help pay for school, but as a senior, he struggled to pay for college, along with basics like groceries, gasoline, and rent.“I ran out of money. I thought, ‘I am literally broke. I can’t continue and this is my senior year’,” Whitener said. But university officials helped Whitener land a series of scholarships. Several of them came from small organizations or clubs. This helped Whitener stay in school and graduate in 1977.
Whitener recently expressed his gratitude to the university with a $750,000 donation to the School of Management (SOM). The donation enabled SOM to establish the Stephen A. Whitener Scholarship for Innovators.
Philip Thompson’s (’11) life is driven by his faith, a thirst for knowledge, and a relentless desire to leave his community better than he found it.
Born and raised in Flint, Thompson graduated from Flint Northwestern High School in 1990. The first-generation college student considered several paths for his future, all of which were influenced by various family members whom he had respected when he was a young man.
“I thought, as a youngster, that I was going to be a preacher, a teacher, or a nurse,” said Thompson. “That’s both because I knew people in those professions, and I always had a desire to serve others.”
If you’ve lived in or around Flint for more than a few months, the odds that you’ve met Terry Wisner (BBA ’81) are pretty good. Wisner is a familiar face to many people on the UM-Flint campus and in the greater Flint community. With his silver hair, welcoming handshake, and quick chuckle, Wisner is a self-described “connection connoisseur” who enjoys meeting new people almost as much as he enjoys introducing folks to one another.
University of Michigan-Flint alumnus, Clarence “Cee Jay” Jennings, Jr. (’02, ’06) is a well-known face to those that attend events on and around the UM-Flint campus. A dedicated and active alumni volunteer, Jennings’ story – moving to Flint for a better future, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and putting his education to work in his community – epitomize the UM-Flint experience for both students and alumni over the past 60 years.
Matt Bueby can’t keep a large smile from his face as he recalls a night this past October, when over 100 alumni and guests from the classes of 1958 through 1966 convened for the inaugural Victors Reunion at the University of Michigan-Flint.
One of the highlights from the university’s 60th anniversary celebration this semester, the reunion brought together members from the first graduating classes of this institution. For some, the event was a chance to reconnect with old friends with whom they had lost touch. For others, it was an occasion to see the campus for the first time in years.
For Bueby, an alumni relations staff member and ’08 graduate from the School of Management, it was an opportunity to pursue a passion project.
The University of Michigan-Flint has unveiled a new outdoor seating area to honor its traditions and celebrate its future, as part of its 60th Anniversary celebrations.
The area, between the University Center and Flint River, includes two benches in a new seating area, surrounded by four trees. One of the benches honors the Mott family and their many contributions to the university, while the other celebrates the initial graduating class of 1958. The benches, which look out at the river, are surrounded by two Jane magnolia trees, and two Kousa Dogwood trees.
For almost 40 years, kids have been passing time playing Hasbro’s legendary tabletop game, Hungry Hungry Hippos. Grabbing as many marbles as you could with your hippo was fun, but what if you could scale the whole game up to a life-sized version, played on ice with your family and friends? What if you could play while benefiting students at the University of Michigan-Flint?
The university celebrated those who graduated from the classes of 1958 through 1966 with a reunion ceremony connected to the broader celebration of UM-Flint’s 60th Anniversary.
“You were the pioneers and the trailblazers,” said UM-Flint Chancellor Susan E. Borrego.
Nearly 100 people attended, with roughly one third of them alumni from those years. There were also six faculty emeritus in attendance.
“Going forward, we will host the Victors Reunion annually and it is for anyone graduating 50 years ago or longer,” said Mary Jo Sekelsky, the university’s executive director for Alumni Relations.