“Miners Forever. Stronger Together.”
Last Updated on August 24, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Originally published August 24, 2020
By Office of Alumni Relations
Each August marks a transition for the UTEP Alumni Association as one board president steps down and another takes the helm. Traditionally, that event is commemorated with a “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony. This year’s transition, however, is more symbolic since the physical event cannot take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So in lieu of a traditional ceremony, we are showcasing the UTEP Alumni Association’s past year of accomplishments through a weeklong series of articles and photo galleries. We are also highlighting our dedicated alumni volunteers who gave of their time, talent and passion to serve on the association’s board of directors.
The 2019-20 year marked significant change for the UTEP Alumni Association:
- Laura Biggs began her term as president of the association just weeks after UTEP welcomed its first new University president in more than 30 years;
- The association launched a new, free membership option to all alumni, the “Picks Up Membership; ” and
- In January, UTEP alumni were introduced to MinerLink, our official online portal exclusive to UTEP graduates to connect with UTEP and other Miners around the world.
“Joining an alumni association is the easiest way to give back to your university,”Biggs said. “An alumnus can be a fantastic mentor, offer interview advice and career advice from someone who is working in your career field. The MinerLink platform will help you reconnect with the friends you had in college who you have lost touch with and will also connect you with new Miner friends wherever you are in the world.”
Biggs presided over a year that started like most others for the association – with the camaraderie of football tailgates; a spirit-filled Homecoming; and the tearful celebration of UTEP graduates at Winter Commencement. By spring, however, the world changed, and in-person gatherings were put on hold due to the pandemic.
As communities all over the world sheltered in place, everyone adjusted to a “new normal.”
For the first time in recent memory, the association had to postpone its prestigious Top 10 Seniors Awards Banquet in April, which honors a select group of students who have excelled in their academic journey at UTEP; the Official Ring Ceremony presentation in May; and the annual Alumni PICK-NIC reunions around the country in June.
Technology became an invaluable tool in staying connected with each other. The Alumni Relations team quickly shifted gears from planning the physical PICK-NICs to creating the first-ever Virtual Reunion with hundreds of participants from around the globe. Members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, like those of many other organizations, have also adapted to virtual meetings, not having met in person since March.
“Because of COVID-19, we have all discovered a new value to virtual communication,” said Martha I. Aguayo, incoming president of the UTEP Alumni Association. “I encourage the association to capitalize on the advantages of this great way to connect and engage with alumni all over the world to offer educational workshops, presentations, and trainings to enhance and further develop their careers.”
In the midst of the pandemic, UTEP hired a new Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Jake Logan, who started in his position on May 1, coming to UTEP from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Logan oversees both Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations and will work closely with the UTEP Alumni Association.
On Sept. 1, the association will begin its new year and Aguayo will take the helm as president. We encourage you to reach out, link up and join us as we keep building this strong Miner Nation. It’s about time the world knew who we are.
As we close out the 2019-20 year for the Alumni Association, one thing remains clear: the strength of UTEP alumni everywhere. This year, in particular, has served as a testament to that strength, when UTEP alumni around the world joined together in support of each other and our University to overcome today’s unusual challenges.
You are going to start hearing this phrase a lot over the next few months: “Miners Forever. Stronger Together.” Those four words not only describe the possibilities of the new, free membership option into the UTEP Alumni Association, they also encompass who we are as an alumni community. We are Miners, proudly so. We’ll always be Miners, and we are stronger together.