A Path Forward
Through the Alumni Association’s inclusive communications and opportunities for engagement, we strive to have an organization where every alum feels that the Association is a place intended for them — a place where they belong. A commitment to anti-racism and respect for the diversity of experience and thought among our 650,000+ alums are key parts of this effort. Deeper learning about diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice continue to undergird our evolution into the most just organization possible.
Why This Work Is Important | Alumni Leadership and Student Programs | Resources and Tools
Through the Alumni Association’s inclusive communications and opportunities for engagement, we strive to have an organization where every alum feels that the Association is a place intended for them — a place where they belong. A commitment to anti-racism and respect for the diversity of experience and thought among our 630,000+ alums are key parts of this effort. Deeper learning about diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice continue to undergird our evolution into the most just organization possible.
Although the first “American Indian Day” was celebrated in May 1916 in New York, a month-long recognition of Native Americans did not happen until 1990. That year, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, the title has expanded to celebrate the heritage, history, art, and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Join us as we celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November.
Statement of Principles
Why This Work Is Important
The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan is committed to building and maintaining a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice that recognizes and embraces the myriad identities, experiences, and backgrounds of all alumni, students, and staff. The Alumni Association commits to this philosophy by:
- Creating thoughtful programs, services, and communications that will ensure that every Michigan graduate (current and future) feels a genuine sense of belonging to an organization that exists for people just like them.
- Ensuring alumni participation in Alumni Association volunteer leadership, professional staffing, and engagement activities that reflect the full diversity of our alumni community.
- Ensuring that diversity of thought and experiences are included in Alumni Association decision-making and in our representation of alumni voices to the University.
- Providing continuing education that equips alumni to be fully informed change agents within their personal spheres of influence, thereby creating greater social justice for society at large.
- Partnering with the University to build diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice on all three campuses and, because of our separate legal status, act independently to support the University when appropriate.
- Recognizing that history (of our nation, our university, and the Alumni Association) has not been fully equitable or inclusive for some segments of society, making proactive efforts to set it right, and enabling everyone to participate equally.
We enrich the University of Michigan’s impact by serving as an independent gateway for alums of all identities, backgrounds, and experiences — across the globe and in our neighborhoods — in order to create and deepen belonging to the Michigan family, the Leaders and Best.
Alumni Leadership and Student Programs
The Alumni Association’s services and communications are intended to provide meaningful engagement opportunities for all segments of our 630,000+ global alumni population, including but not limited to race, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, political perspectives, disability, and religion. We are focused on staying inclusive and committed to developing new opportunities for purpose-driven engagement for all needs and interests.
Using these resources to learn and share, we hope that our alumni are able to influence their own communities, in turn creating a multiplier effect for a more inclusive and socially just world.
Join Michigan Alumni in Your Communities
Domestic and international alumni clubs provide opportunities for Michigan alumni to come together around the subjects that matter — identity, shared experiences, and ideas to help create a more just world for all of us.
Alumni-Led Affinity Groups
Affinity groups connect alumni to each other and the University by fostering pride, honoring legacy, and celebrating heritage and identities that strengthen and enrich the Michigan alumni family.
Alumni Association Board
The Alumni Association has greatly leveraged alumni to engage in the LEAD Scholars program and on our board, which has added significant gender and racial diversity. Seeing us through 2020 is the most diverse board of directors in Alumni Association history.
The board has 23 members, including 12 women and 11 underrepresented minorities. In addition, the average age of board members is 54. We continue individual outreach to women whose leadership would enhance work at U-M as both volunteers and donors. The Alumni Association maintains a curated and well-maintained list of future leaders to leverage when natural turnover occurs on the board.
Diversity Dialogue Series
The Diversity Dialogue Series is a webinar event series in which we feature members of the U-M community (e.g., alumni, students, faculty, staff) who are making a local and societal impact and/or are an subject matter expert in a specific topic related to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. Topics covered in the Diversity Dialogue Series will address the myriad identities, experiences, and backgrounds of our diverse alumni and students. To submit a future event idea, please contact: [email protected].
From First-Gen Student to First-Gen Professional: Navigating the Transition
First-generation professionals are trailblazers, forging a path into professional work environments that might be very different from those experienced by their families or loved ones. And while the experience might be supportive for some, the transition might feel insurmountable for others. It can be fraught with complexities as professional and personal worlds collide and sometimes even contradict.
Join us and first-generation professional advocate Bernice Maldonado to learn about her research on the first-gen experience and have a supportive conversation with others who have experienced this transition firsthand. You will also learn how to understand whether an organization’s culture is inclusive to first-gen professionals when choosing to take a job or starting a new role.
(In)visible Disabilities and the Job Search
Despite protections like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still reports that 19.1% of persons with a disability were employed in 2021 as compared to 63.7% of persons without a disability.
In this recording, you will:
- Learn resources for alumni and students in the job search
- Understand the technical legalities of the job search including what employers are allowed and not allowed to ask of job seekers
- Connect with a community of fellow alumni and students also in the job search
This event was hosted in partnership with the University Career Center and the Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office at the University of Michigan.
Read More Alumni Experiences
La June Montgomery Tabron, ’84: ” As painful as this time feels for us as individuals, facing the painful truths is bringing us together. And that is what inspires me. We have the chance to leverage this energy toward change — to take the righteous fury and determination we see in every call for leadership and channel it into positive action.”
Veronica Sanchez Peavey, ’99, MPA’11: “My best U-M memories are attending the football games with my then-boyfriend (now husband) and going to the dances with my friends at the Michigan Union hosted by different Latino/a/x organizations. It was amazing to celebrate our culture with such joy and in the “corazon” of the university.”
Ignacio Salazar, MSW’72: “Ensuring that Hispanic students receive a comprehensive, thorough education beginning with kindergarten is imperative to academic achievement and upward mobility when these individuals reach the workforce. We need to invest more in Early Head Start programs … so when low-income Latinx students arrive at a public school, they are as ready for academics as less disadvantaged children.”
David Segura, ’93: “I believe my upbringing created this curiosity to always be open minded and someone who takes interests in others. Growing up Latino in metro Detroit, I was often one of the only people of my ethnicity in places I would go. I found myself very comfortable over time in being able to connect to people of any background.”
Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, ’79: “The country, the world, and the University at large continue facing a crisis of racial inequality, one further accentuated by a global health pandemic that has highlighted inequity and amplified fissures. Once again, we encounter a seminal moment, a historical turning point we cannot brush aside or minimize.”
The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of the state and the world by developing leaders from varying backgrounds who will challenge the status quo and enrich our future. We are committed to supporting the University by leveraging our staff and volunteer resources to recruit and retain a fully diverse student population on all three U-M campuses.
LEAD Scholars Program
In 2008, the Alumni Association established the LEAD Scholars program for those students who embody leadership, excellence, achievement, and diversity. The scholarship is available to accepted students to help the best and brightest make their way to Michigan. The Alumni Association — independent from the University — takes full financial and administrative responsibility for this program.
To date, nearly 540 LEAD Scholars have been accepted into the program over our 11-year history. For the 2020-21 school year, we have 60 new students in the program, our largest cohort to date.
For our LEAD Scholars, the program is more than a scholarship.
Resources and Tools
Read With Us
Everyone's journey to understand diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice starts from a different place. The Alumni Association produces and curates a collection of important resources for you, your fellow alumni, and the organizations you belong to.
The award-winning Michigan Alumnus magazine and newsletter feature the captivating stories and experiences of Michigan alumni from all walks of life as well as issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice that the University confronts.
Alumni Education Gateway
Through the Alumni Education Gateway, we are committed to curating resources from across the University, and from experts in the field, that touch on topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
Identity Focused Career Resource GuidesWhen researching potential employers, you want to make sure the organization is the right fit for you. The Identity Focused Career Resource Guides equips you with the right tools to get you started on your job search.
Alumni Association's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Focus Areas and Goals
How We Achieve Our Goals
The Alumni Association has embarked on a five-year strategic plan for DEIJ. The current plan is under review from the Alumni Association board of directors. Read the latest plan and impact from the first two years of implementation. By embedding DEIJ into the organization’s infrastructure, we can individually and collectively learn, grow, contribute, and advance toward our goals. This DEIJ framework reflects the inclusive leadership model.
Professional and Alumni Volunteer Work Culture
A diverse workforce is central to the Alumni Association’s success, and it makes us stronger by bringing together a variety of experiences and points of view. Our hiring and retention philosophy focuses on professionals who bring equal levels of talent, skills, diversity, and commitment to our core values.
We are intent on building diversity at all levels, but especially within our leadership groups (executives, directors, managers, and volunteer leaders). With this in mind, we are committed to creating a special advancement program for people of color to develop their leadership skills and move up within the organization.
We are dedicated to creating an actively anti-racist culture that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Equality and opportunity are a matter of principle, not political correctness. We have no tolerance for any kind of racism or microaggressions against marginalized groups.
Alumni Association Team
The Alumni Association demographic snapshot of our staff (2022):
Receive Our DEIJ Updates
We’re also looking outside for experts and change-makers in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice and are able to share a curated list of tools and resources for all alumni on a monthly basis. To receive them directly in your inbox, share your details here: