Alumni Assoc. director resigns; Alumni and Development Office merge

Lakeidra Chavis/ Sun Star Reporter

Feb. 18, 2014

Joe Hayes, Alumni Association executive director officially resigned last Monday.

The resignation was mutual, according to Hayes, who served as executive director, for more than a decade. Hayes’ resignation comes right after the alumni association is merging with the Development Office.

Vice Chancellor of University and Student Advancement Mike Sfraga said that Hayes had been considering changing careers, “for a while.”

“It seemed like the time was right to pursue other opportunities,” Hayes said, although he would not comment further as to why. Upon his separation, Hayes also signed a document that restricted him from serving on any advancement board for the next two years. Advancement boards are any boards or departments that fall under the department of University and Student Advancement, such as alumni or marketing.

Hayes turned in the keys to his office on Saturday and the vice chancellor officially signed Hayes’ resignation papers on Monday.

“It wasn’t a surprise,” Sfraga said.

During the fall semester, the university hired a consultant to look over certain university departments. “We asked her to come in and take a look at…and build us an integrated advancement plan,” Sfraga said.

The consultant looked at the Development Office, Marketing and Communications and the Alumni Association. They are the three departments closely linked with advancement, according to Sfraga. The Development Office focuses on incoming students and philanthropy efforts for the university.

The consultant advised the vice chancellor to invest in the departing students, redesign the alumni office and create a closer partnership between the alumni and development offices. A better integration plan will help increase the likelihood of the university’s 32,000 alumni investing back into the university through donations or encouraging their children to attend UAF, which means the university makes more money in the long run.

“We’ve got good departments, good people doing lots of stuff. But is there a way to better integrate, especially in a world of declining dollars but increased expectations,” Sfraga said.

The Alumni Association and the Development Office used to be directly under Sfraga. As of Jan. 1, the Alumni Office is now under Development. Director of Development Emily Drygas is now in charge of both departments, and will serve as the temporary executive director of the alumni association until the university is able to hire a new one.

Hayes disagreed with some of the consultant’s suggestions, according to Sfraga. However, neither Hayes or Sfraga would comment further.

“There comes a time when people and institutions change, and it was his time, ’cause things here are changing,” Sfraga said, “I think it’s a good bookmark for him.”

Senior Public Information Office Marmian Grimes shared a similar sentiment.

“People grow professionally and sometimes they decide to go and break off on their own. That’s great. I’m sure we all hope he finds lots success,” Grimes said in an interview last Tuesday.

Besides his career as Alumni director, Hayes is a military veteran, and was the first African-American ASUAF president and student regent.

Hayes said that he enjoyed his time at the university and has not lost any of the “fire” he had for his job. He said that he plans to open a consulting lobbying firm focused on state and federal issues and organization management.

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