After graduation, staying connected matters, UHCL alumna says
Many students graduate from college wondering if they'll ever use some of the material they learned in their coursework. Kimberly Campbell, a two-time University of Houston-Clear Lake alumna, felt she gained so much both professionally and personally out of her classes, she made it a priority to stay strongly connected as an active member of the Alumni Partnership.
Since 2007, Campbell has been president of QUEST Business Strategies, a marketing and public relations company located in Houston. "It's important to me to continue giving back to the university," she said. "I get in return much more than I give because I get so much joy in being involved with the university."
She said that as a student, she had the opportunity to develop relationships with faculty and peers and her experience in the Alumni Association has been instrumental. "Not only are those groups key in maintaining relationships with students even after they're alumni, they are themselves a highly talented and experienced group of professionals who are an amazing resource that I was able to tap into for clients and expertise," she said.
"The faculty helped me with my education, and they were always enthusiastic. Before I came to UHCL, I attended another university where class sizes were in the hundreds. At UHCL, I received the same academic quality, but in an environment that suited my particular needs to make me a stronger professional."
Working directly with today's undergraduates is particularly appealing, Campbell said. "I like to interface with students, whether it's serving as a guest lecturer, being involved in a mentoring workshop, or emceeing an alumni event that brings scholarships to the university. That's what drives me here — supporting the students."
She said the best part of her interactions with students is when they come to her after the class is over and tell her the impact her words have had. "When they say, 'Wow, I didn't know these kinds of jobs existed!' or, 'I didn't know there was this much job diversity in this field,' that's what brings me happiness," she said. "I like to provide the awareness they need to help launch them into the working environment in which they envision themselves. In return, I get a lot of enjoyment from helping others."
Giving to the university matters to Campbell, but she added that it's important to know that the manner in which gifts are given makes a difference in ways a donor may not realize. "I learned that when it comes to giving, news outlets like U.S. News and World Report describe a university with a 'highly engaged' alumni as one with ongoing, annual donations," she said. "That means that it's much more useful to a university if you give small gifts every year over the course of many years, than if you give one lump sum and never give any more gifts. Even a small gift annually can benefit the university more than one large amount given 10 years ago."
She said she appreciates that the financial support she gives the university can be directed to the area that she chooses. "I love that I can select where I'd like the money to be distributed," she said. "When the Bayou Theater was undergoing its renovation, I wanted to support that effort and I was able to designate the funds for that cause."
The university is transforming, Campbell noted. "I love the changes I'm seeing. From capturing younger students to the revamped Bayou Theater to seeing so many students living and walking around campus while wearing the Hawks logo. It's changing into an even more vibrant campus," she said. "It's exciting to watch it happen and be a part of it."