Veronica Royce is the college’s new alumni relations director. Before joining the college in January 2016, she previously served as the Development and Alumni Relations Director for the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to that, Veronica worked in development for Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. She studied Management and Business Administration at Hope International University and received a master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?
“I have wandered a bit in my career. I studied International Relations in school and thought that I would work for the U.S. State Department as a foreign service officer. When that route didn’t work out for me, I landed at a foreign policy think tank and, being a non-profit organization, I was soon involved in fundraising. I transitioned that experience to a job in Development for Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and later the University of Nevada, Reno. There is a lot of overlap between Development and Alumni Relations, and as I advanced in my career I realized that I enjoyed the Alumni Relations piece of my job more and more.”
Why did you choose Oregon State?
“My work at Gettysburg College brought me to Corvallis and Oregon State several times, and I always liked visiting the area. When my husband decided to leave his career in software development and go back to school to follow his passion of studying botany or marine biology, we knew we would have to move away from Nevada. As we were considering schools with strengths in those areas, Oregon State came out on top not only for the strength of those programs but also because it is such a great place to raise our daughter.”
What is your favorite part of the job?
“I love meeting alumni and hearing about how they’ve translated their education into various career paths. Everyone has a unique story, and I find it fascinating to see where people have ended up after graduation.”
What is your greatest accomplishment in the field to date?
“It’s hard to pinpoint my greatest accomplishment. The results of this job are often seen years down the road, and I may not always be privy to them. I don’t measure my success by getting 500 alumni together at an event. While that would be great, I believe it is more important to foster deeper connections with our alumni than to merely ask them to attend an event. By getting them involved, whether that be through helping students navigate their career search, lending their expertise in the classroom, or providing advice to college leadership, alumni are able to strengthen the college and impact student success.
“Having a strong alumni network is important for students as they enter the working world – and for alumni who are advancing in their careers or looking to switch fields. If I can get someone excited about being connected and involved, then I count that as a success. What results from that connection might not be seen immediately – perhaps years down the road that alumnus/a will prove instrumental in shaping the career path of a student or young graduate. I probably will never know the full results of the work I do, but I’ve seen enough firsthand that I know how useful the alumni network can be.”
Connected and involved alumni are a great resource for our faculty and students.
How do you change people’s lives with your work?
“Connected and involved alumni are a great resource for our faculty and students. They are often able to provide useful feedback about how what is discussed in the classroom is put into practice in the field. They are often able to provide internships or career mentoring for students. And as they become more involved, there is a greater likelihood that they will invest in the college financially, which may lead to new student scholarships, faculty support and more.”
What is the best advice you ever received – and who gave it?
“’Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.’ This is from Steve Jobs.
“While working for Gettysburg College, this quote was being used on college merchandise, and I remember having a great discussion with the college’s president and vice president for development and alumni relations about how loving your job will keep you motivated and successful in the long run. The president of a college or university has a very stressful job, and in this particular instance we were on a long trip 2,000 miles away from campus severely lacking in sleep. It would have been easy for her to cancel our afternoon appointments and say that she needed some downtime, but it was obvious how much she loved her job and how much energy she derived from the meaningful work she did. She said that no job will be perfect, but if you love 90 percent of what you are doing then you are doing pretty good.”
What advice you would give students and recent alumni?
“Don’t take a job solely for the money. Find something you are passionate about and find a way to make money doing it. There are so many opportunities out there that you may not even know about. Find opportunities to get involved and connected with the alumni network. For alumni, please consider becoming a volunteer. I would love to share ways that alumni can make a positive difference for the college and our students, and I can always be reached at email@example.com.
What is one surprising thing about you not many people know?
“During my International Relations days, I was once approached by a CIA recruiter and tried unsuccessfully for a job there. It was the strangest job interview process I have ever been through.”
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
“I love to travel, and my favorite places are Russia, Italy, the Alsatian region of France, and Santa Fe. I also enjoy gardening, playing pool, reading, watching British murder mysteries, and antique shopping. My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a historic home in Albany, built in the 1800s, and we are looking forward to the many projects around the house that owning an older home entails. Once we are certain that the purchase will go through, I plan to start researching the history of the home and the city from that era.”