Campus & Community

Madison Gretzky, Simmons Alumnae/i Association Historian, Wants You to Get Involved

Maddie Gretzky stands on the shore with the Golden Gate Bridge behind her

The wealth of the Simmons alumnae/i community is the combination of all of our experiences. The more alumnae/i are willing to share, the better we can connect them with other people.

“The Alumni Association offers a lot of support to students and graduates, especially the younger graduates,” says Madison Gretzky ’16. Before the dawn of social media (and Simmons Network) the Alumnae/i Association’s role was to keep alumnae/i in touch with each other. That said, Gretzky wants students and alumnae/i to know that the Association has more to offer.

“The more people participate, the better it is for everyone,” says Gretzky. “The wealth of the Simmons alumnae/i community is the combination of all of our experiences. The more alumnae/i are willing to share, the better we can connect them with other people.”

The Simmons Undergraduate Alumnae/i Association serves all current and former undergraduate students and alumnae/i, whether or not they officially graduated (there are other organizations that represent alumnae/i from Simmons’ graduate programs). It is a nonprofit organization, separate from Simmons but operating as an extension of the institution. Class of 2027 students received embroidered shark-themed key chains as welcome gifts, courtesy of the Association. Gretzky also hopes to see students and alumnae/i at the Association’s open meeting during Alumnae/i, Family and Friends Weekend 2023. Gretzky and AAEB President Karen Young-Thomas '77 are also eager to highlight the accomplishments of Simmons alumnae/i in light of Simmons’ 125th anniversary, to be celebrated in 2025.

Now, it’s easier for students and alumnae/i to join, regardless of their location. Gretzky recalls that, before 2020, the Alumnae/i Association Executive Board (AAEB), “always met in person and focused on local folks who could come to campus to meet.” The switch to virtual meetings has been transformative. “It ended up being phenomenal! The AAEB invited alumnae/i from all over the country to be involved.” In her role as Historian of the Alumnae/i Association, Gretzky is hoping to close gaps in the Board’s historical records and by reaching out to past board members and requesting materials. This reflection on the past is especially important now, given the University’s strategic plan, “Building Our Future.”

Gretzky’s career is a direct result of her time at Simmons, as her work-study job in the Registrar’s Office prepared her for her current role in the Registrar’s Office at Berklee Online, where she evaluates student’s transfer credits, advises online students studying abroad, and evaluates international student applications. She is eager to connect with other recent graduates and current students.

“There’s a lot that recent graduates can offer,” notes Gretzky. “We may not be making a lot of money yet, but we have a lot of relevant experience.” To attract these graduates, “We’re trying to offer low-effort hang-out opportunities. Have some free food and a drink and connect and network with each other.”

For Gretzky, it is extremely beneficial for current students to talk to recent grads. “[Students] often hear from people established in their careers. While there is always something to be learned from those experiences, on a practical level, their advice is not directly applicable. The job market is constantly changing.”

For her sake, connecting with other recent graduates has helped her learn patience and approach this part of her career with optimistic realism. “Even when you’re doing pretty well, you’re not hitting every milestone you envisioned,” Gretzky notes. “It takes a lot of time to advance your career and move forward in your life — the general perception is that it’s a faster process than it is. When you’re twenty you don’t always know how long things take.”

Interested in getting involved? View the list of open Board positions.

Resources for Students and Alumnae/i

Upcoming Events

Alumnae/i, Family and Friends Weekend
Friday, October 13, through Sunday, October 15, 2023

Alumnae/i Association Executive Board Meeting
Friday, October 13, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Main Campus Building, A-152 & Virtual

Current students and alumnae/i are welcome to attend the meeting. President Karen Young-Thomas '77 and the Board's committee directors will share updates and present opportunities for you to get involved in activities for the year ahead. This meeting will also be offered virtually. This is a great opportunity for students to learn about the work of the AAEB.

Students are also welcome to attend sessions on Rebuilding Alumnae/i Engagement, Philanthropic Participation, and Building Community in LLC. Registration is not required for students to attend these sessions, though tickets are required for participation in the Duck Tours, Fenway Tour, Boston Ghosts Tour, and other external events.

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Alisa M. Libby