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New leader of alumni relations seeks greater engagement

Though Anne-Marie Connors is the new associate vice president for alumni relations, she is no stranger to CSU.

Over a decade has elapsed since she last worked as one of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law’s lead fundraisers. Get to know more about her and her plans for engaging our vast network of CSU alumni.


You worked at CSU years ago, what made you want to return?
Over the last 8 years I’d been working in non profit management and I’d been missing higher education. Being a native Clevelander, I had been keeping an eye on developments at Cleveland State over recent years.  Seeing President Sands’ vibrant leadership and inspirational plan for CSU – and his intention for making CSU play an important role on impacting the economy in Cleveland was something I wanted to be a part of.  When I saw the Alumni Relations role posted and how it was configured, I knew I needed to become a part of this forward momentum for CSU and our region.  It was an opportunity that I knew would be fulfilling for me both personally and professionally to serve our community.

Now that you’ve taken the reins of our alumni engagement efforts, what can alumni expect?
Alumni relations and engagement is much more than just one person or an event – it is about connecting back with CSU and with one another – and with our students.  I want alumni to understand that there are so many ways they can be involved with CSU:  by following us and sharing our news on social media, by mentoring or advising our students through internships, by speaking in classes and working with faculty, by advocating for CSU through hiring or helping identify students for admissions, by attending athletics events, or just proudly letting others know they are a CSU alum.  Alumni should expect to know they can be a part of CSU in so many ways – so please be open to the opportunities that come your way! You are a #Vike4Life!

As you’re becoming acclimated to your new role, what has impressed you most in your conversations with alumni?
I am so impressed with two things: first, how accomplished so many of our alumni are and how many have had to overcome significant challenges, and yet have achieved so much and second, how committed and proud folks are of their CSU education.  That enthusiasm is inspiring!

How can alumni help you in the days/months/years ahead?
Reach out, tell me your story, tell me how you want to be involved – trust me, I WANT you to be involved!  As we move forward with the CSU 2.0 strategic plan, alumni will need to play a key role for our outreach and engagement to assist our students with finding internships and professional experiences – and we will need alumni to assist with opening doors and helping to find these new types of experiential learning opportunities for our students. If our Alumni Affairs team knows what you have to offer, we can then utilize your talents and connections to benefit our students!

What’s the best part of living in Cleveland?
Everything! Affordability to live in a great city, the choice to live suburban or urban and still easily access downtown, access to amazing culture, great food, the changing seasons, the beauty that surrounds us between the lake and Metroparks – there’s a reason why people from major urban areas flocked to Cleveland during the pandemic!

Honey Hut ice cream or Mitchell’s?
Oh Mitchell’s hand’s down without a doubt!

What’s on your radio during your morning and evening commutes?
90.3 WCPN – or Alt Nation on Sirius when I need a pick me up.

Favorite Cleveland restaurant.
Don’t ever ask a Gemini to pick just one place! Sapore, Loretta Paganini’s tiny gem of a place in Chesterland and GiGi’s on Fairmount in Cleveland Heights.

Last book/audiobook/podcast you read and/or listened to?Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead and Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.

Hidden talents?
I am a classically trained vocalist and pianist, having trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music throughout of my childhood and young adult years.  I am also a wrangler of twin boys and labradors.

Also in this Issue...

New president of alumni association board takes reins

Lauren Rudman (MLRHR '08) hopes to help cultivate deeper alumni relationships with the university.

Birth of the Vikings

Find out how CSU's moniker and mascot came to be.

Business prof’s top podcast seeks to create better workplaces, one listener at a time

Aside from his work as an associate professor of management at CSU, published scholar, consulting firm co-owner and U.S. Navy Reserve captain, Ben Baran, Ph.D. also finds time to connect with his rapidly growing audience as co-host of “The Indigo Podcast: An Exploration of Human Flourishing at Work and Beyond.”

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Cleveland State University Alumni Association
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