Inaugural Alumni Fellow attracts full house

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Students filed into an oversold Watson Forum to hear Steve Sear ’87, senior vise president of global sales for Delta Airlines, give a speech that served as both the inaugural speech for the new Alumni Fellows Program and as a part of the McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.

A donor has endowed the newly founded Alumni Fellows Program, which will bring in an important figure from a large company or major nonprofit four to five times a year.

The program's inagural guest, Steve Sear spoke to a full house in Watson Forum yesterday over the lunch hour. His lecture titled "Airline Industry Transformation" discussed the recent paterns in the airline industry and how Delta remains a key player in the airline marketplace. 

Raj Bellani, dean of experiential learning and career planning, explained that they consulted with the donor to create a long list of prominent alumni who would be good candidates for the program. After inviting the alumni to participate, it just becomes a question of finding a time that he or she is available to come to campus.

Once here, these alumni speak to students, they will also provide opportunities for faculty and staff development. Sear taught a class for Professor Larry Stimpert's course on mergers and acquisitions and met with those in the Hubbard Center and McDermond Center to help them understand what companies like Delta Airlines look for in applications for internships and careers and how best to assist students hoping to enter these markets.

The Hubbard Center and Management Fellows staff was excited to collaborate to bring in Sear and continue to work together in the future. Bellani is excited for the new opportunities that these guests will bring to campus.

“[Alumni Fellows will] bring expert knowledge to campus and give students access that they would not get otherwise in a very intimate, positive setting with lots of continuous feedback plus opportunities to get students employment in these companies,” Bellani said.

He also expressed how lucky DePauw is to have a program like Alumni Fellows.

“Very few schools have this type of presence, and such notable alums that can provide this kind of knowledge to students is unheard of,” said Bellani.

In addition, these guests provide an excellent opportunity for collaboration between many offices and programs on campus such as the Hubbard Center, Alumni Engagement, Media Fellows Program, Student Life and Academic Affairs.

As exemplified by this collaboration with Management Fellows to bring Steve Sear, it appears that Alumni Fellows will be able to enhance the events put on by other honors and fellows programs that strive to bring alumni back to campus. 

Sear acted as one of the six to eight speakers that the McDermond Center presents each semester for their speaker series. Michele Villiski, director of the Management Fellows Program and the McDermond Center, explains that these speakers are “business and entrepreneurial leaders and experts from diverse industries” who create networking opportunities and help students envision different paths after graduation.

In all, Alumni Fellows is designed to further the possibilities available to DePauw students both during their years in school and after graduation.