OAR Shifts Focus, Hires Young Alumni Director Savino

Looking to forge stronger ties with young alumni, the Phillips Academy Office of Academy Resources (OAR) has hired Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs Jenny Savino to lead Young Alumni Programs in hopes of maintaining connections with recent graduates attending college. Ms. Savino hopes to develop stronger programs for mentoring and career networking and wants to ensure that young alumni can be reached to provide imput on future academy decisions. Her appointment came shortly before the academy announced a $140 million loss. As the contact person for young graduates, Ms. Savino regularly hosts meetings at cities and colleges across the country to connect with former students. Since her arrival in October, Ms. Savino has already hosted eight such gatherings. She invited former Andover students to dinner in Washington D.C., attended by PA graduates who matriculated at Georgetown College, George Washington University, and American University. She also hosted gatherings at John Hopkins University, Wesleyan University, and Yale University. Her destinations also include visits with students from Brown University, Cornell University, Middlebury College, Colby College, and Harvard University. She will also travel to California to visit students at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. She is pregnant and is expecting a baby in several months. At such events, former PA students discuss common issues, particularly how they can help current Andover students. Ms. Savino mentioned that some alumni have contributed several valuable ideas, including the possibility of hosting prospective students at their respective colleges and mentoring new students once they arrive on campus. She points out that the recent graduates are a “wonderful, vibrant body for the school to tap into” because they have been exposed to the closest model to the current Andover education. While there has been a Young Alumni Committee made up of two representatives from each graduating class for the past five years, Ms. Savino has found that there are many more former students eager to help. According to Director of Alumni Affairs Michael Ebner ’70, when he was appointed to his position three years ago, he found that there were two major shortcomings in the program: the weak connection young alumni have with the academy and their lack of cohesion as a class upon graduation. To correct this, he created a full-time position for someone who would focus on the status of young alumni and help seniors to establish such connections before they departed campus. Ms. Savino will talk with members of the graduating class in the spring about staying connected to Andover. She will generate a list of senior volunteers and ask them what Andover can do to help them as they move into a new phase of theirs lives. To provide a future for alumni giving, students are also alerted to opportunities to become active in the alumni network. In the past, younger alumni have often shied away from the larger, regional gatherings for alumni, feeling out-of-place at meetings where the majority of attendees were older, more established alumni. She described her new post as requiring “a lot of listening and seeing what young alums want.” She inquires about their transition from Andover to college to ensure that there are no significant flaws in student preparation. Ms. Savino has had a great deal of experience in managing alumni affairs, and she is deeply involved with the alumni association of both her high school and college. She is a trustee of The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, and she has served as president of its Boston regional alumni association for the past eight years. Ms. Savino has also been active in the Skidmore College alumni association for over a decade. She remarked that she “jumped at the chance” to take the job at Andover because it reflected her sentiments about the importance of young alumni to schools and the need for connections. She mentioned that, although Andover is a school made up of approximately 1,500 students and faculty, the academy is an institution that has touched over 20,000 individuals who can provide valuable contributions to the school.