By Jennifer Bowie
Graham Stewart doesn't need to think twice about where to turn for help in promoting Ohio University and all that's possible here. He has access to more than 190,000 experts.
"Alumni know the university better than anyone," he said. "They're the keepers of the history."
Stewart begins work Monday as assistant vice president for alumni relations and executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association. He comes to Athens via the University at Buffalo, where he served as the associate vice president for alumni relations.
"We are very fortunate to have such an experienced professional joining our university community to lead our alumni relations efforts," President Roderick J. McDavis said. "Graham will bring expertise and enthusiasm. Personally, as an alumnus, I am looking forward to working with him to provide meaningful opportunities for our alumni to engage in the lives of our students and faculty."
Stewart is responsible for engaging the entire alumni body through programs and services that link gradates to the university. He will oversee the recruitment, development, training and management of senior volunteers, including the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors.
"We're very excited to welcome Graham to our team," said Howard Lipman, vice president for university advancement and president and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation. "He's a consummate professional and a proven leader in the field of alumni relations. He brings to Ohio University a breadth of experience, innovative and collaborative thinking, vision and creativity, and extraordinary leadership skills. We're all looking forward to working with him as he leads the Bobcat Nation."
Stewart holds a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and a master's degree in organizational communication, learning and design, both from Ithaca (N.Y.) College. He has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and has worked in marketing and communications as well as in admissions. Stewart has been an alumni relations professional since 1999.
"I'm excited to join Ohio University and to become a part of its rich traditions and its amazing history," Stewart said. "As I look at coming into this new position, I look toward best practices."
Stewart has presented at district conferences of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) on the topics of marketing, collaboration with student affairs and negotiation. He is a five-time faculty member for the CASE Workshop for Newcomers in Alumni Relations, serving twice as chair, and is a member of the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations and the Council for Alumni Association Executives. He is a former member of the Association of Private College and University Alumni Directors.
"Graham is a seasoned professional in his industry who brings the type of experience that will take our alumni association to the next level," said Dell Robinson, BSPE '88, volunteer chair of the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors and associate commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "I believe his energy and passion will be contagious and create an environment for the engagement of alumni, staff, students and faculty."
Stewart also is a professional singer (jazz and classical) and a trombonist. He was a member of a Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble, The Gregg Smith Singers, and has performed 18 lead operatic and musical theater roles.
He and his wife, Tina, have a daughter, Quenna, who will be a senior at Athens High School this fall, and a son, Colin, who lives in the Buffalo area with his fiancee.
Stewart succeeds Ralph Amos, who led the Ohio University Alumni Association from 1998 to 2007 and now is executive director of the UCLA Alumni Association.
Updated at 9:45 a.m. July 8, 2008.