University of Redlands alumni from around the country have partnered with the Office of Alumni & Community Relations to host a new series of events that invited recent graduates and alumni who have recently moved to meet fellow Bulldogs in their area. “Welcome to the City” grew out of an idea from the Young Alumni Committee of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, several of whom hosted events in their regions.
“I found that multiple peer institutions shared the ‘Welcome to the City’ branding, so this seemed like a great way to start a new tradition for our own alumni community,” said Shelli Stockton, director of Alumni and Community Relations. “I was impressed with the number of alumni who volunteered to organize something in their region.”
Several alumni “hosts” were Alumni Board members or former student leaders and admissions volunteers, while others responded to calls for help on social media or in the alumni newsletter. The result? Fourteen events were scheduled in cities all over the country, none of which would have occurred without alumni in the region providing recommendations and help at the event.
The first event was held at J. Riley Distillery in Redlands on Saturday, August 6, and was organized by Nicole Kelly ’06, ’21, who responded to the call for volunteers on social media. A teacher in the Inland Empire, Kelly was a commuter student during her undergraduate experience and pursued her master’s degree online during the pandemic. “The University has done a fantastic job staying in contact with students and alumni alike,” Kelly said. “Through social media, the Och Tamale in my mailbox, and emails from campus, I felt like not being on campus for my master’s degree didn’t matter because I was still a Bulldog.”
Successful events have included the Bay Area (host Nori Patterson ’19), San Diego (host McKenna Carlson ’16), Orange County (host Jenna Taylor ’19), Denver (hosts Colin Romer ’18 and Jane Chevalier ’08), Chicago (host Elvis Begic ’20), Sacramento (host Kimberly Gordon Biddle ’87), and Santa Barbara (host Cynthia Peterson ’63). Most took place at breweries, contributing to a casual environment where alumni across class years could meet and former classmates could catch up. At Hangar 24’s Irvine Taproom, the 60 attendees got a shout-out from the live band and chanted the Och Tamale from the rooftop deck to the crowd below.
Aside from attending Homecoming, “Welcome to the City” was the first alumni event Kelly had attended since graduating in 2006. “Thank you, Redlands, for reminding me that I am a Bulldog for Life. I can’t wait to see more of you!”
Learn more about future “Welcome to the City” events this fall and other alumni activities. To organize an event for your region, email firstname.lastname@example.org.