Book Review: The Alumni Way

To hear her explain it, the idea for Dr. Maria Gallo’s book The Alumni Way began right after she graduated from the University of Toronto and began working in the university’s alumni office. As an administrator managing the annual fund and programs for recent graduates, she noticed how many opportunities there were for alumni but how few alumni knew about them or why they should engage. 

Dr. Gallo wrote The Alumni Way first and foremost as a roadmap for soon-to-be and recent college graduates they can utilize as a resource while working to build their professional networks. Gallo also argues that we should all reemphasize our “alumni hood” and status as essential members of our university communities as a personal and professional growth strategy. With this intentionality comes future open doors to many incredible opportunities throughout our lives. 

In the forward of The Alumni Way, networking expert J. Kelly Hoey describes how engaging within the university community with intentionality “helps each of us get one step closer to serendipity.”

By engaging deeply in our alumni community, we can inch closer to that incredible opportunity that’s very much in the stars for us all. What a great way to think about the value of the alumni network!

Dr. Gallo describes in her book both why our connectedness with our alma mater is an essential part of what should be everyone’s professional growth strategy. At the same time, Maria offers exercises throughout the book for anyone wanting to blaze their own alumni trail. Throughout the book, Dr. Gallo expands on four central core themes: reflection, curiosity, passion, and generosity – each of which, upon review, helps to build both the “how” and the “why” for our continued involvement with our alma maters. 

The themes in Dr. Gallo’s book reminded me of why I love the work of engaging alumni. Alumni paid for their degrees, and they don’t owe their alma mater anything in return. For alumni to become part of the donor pipeline we all strive to build, they need to find that continued participation in the life of the university is a valuable thing.

The Alumni Way is an essential read for all of us. Everyone could use a reminder that being an alum should matter. Dr. Maria Gallo reminds us about this opportunity and encourages readers to take action.