Heather Harrell has been named the new Director of Alumni Relations at Sul Ross State University.

Harrell began her duties on Tuesday, October 1.

Harrell, an Iraan, Texas native, has worked for Sul Ross for nearly a decade, most recently as the Training Coordinator for the SRSU Small Business Development Center.

She brings experience from both her education and her professional work life to the alumni office having attended both Midland College and Sul Ross majoring in business administration. She and her husband, John, have two children, Abby and Sonny.

Q&A with Heather Harrell, Director of Alumni Relations:

Describe your history with Sul Ross and what brought you to Alpine.

My family and I moved to Alpine back in 2007 for my husband’s job. I was already very familiar and loved the Big Bend area because in high school, I worked the summers at Prude Guest Ranch near Fort Davis. I have worked at Sul Ross on and off for almost a decade. Most recently as the training coordinator for the SBDC. I am excited with my new position to embrace even more of the Sul Ross culture and traditions.

How has your background and/or current position prepared you for the role of Director of Alumni Relations?

First of all, I come from a background of always going the extra mile, my parents raised us to go above and beyond! In my current position as training coordinator, I have met so many different contacts from all over this region of Texas and cannot wait to meet more as the Director of Alumni Relations. I have also worked with many different volunteer groups and organizations in our community that assures me how much our community loves SRSU.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of heading an alumni office at a school like Sul Ross?

The challenge would be that Sul Ross is a small university and our alumni want to know more about the university. We are a closer knit alumni community, and we have so many opportunities to get even more connected. Since we are smaller, the team can learn more about the alumni members and assist the chapters better by being able to give them a more human connection

What are some short term and long term goals you would like to reach in your new position?

A couple of short term goals would be 1) Continue to affirm the our department is the University’s centralized organization for alumni relations, 2) Continue to create opportunities for Alumni to connect and communicate with each other and students, and 3) Continue to support and assist bringing Lobo pride and spirit to Sul Ross State University 4) Launch a monthly/ quarter Alumni newsletter and build our connections to the Sul Ross Alumni.

More long term would be, not necessarily in this order 1) Develop opportunities for Alumni and current graduates to connect possibly leveraging the network to secure jobs and internships, 2) Develop and explore potential Alumni Chapters throughout more of Texas and expand our support 3) Develop strategies with recruiting to help reach potential students by the attraction of strong Alumni support.

Describe how technology (social media, blogs, podcasts, etc.) will play a part in Alumni Relations.

Alumni Relations will continue to leverage social media to create excitement through engagement and communication with alumni and students. We will be open to all new ideas to peak more interest in helping market Sul Ross Alumni Relations.

How will marketing methods be similar and different in reaching younger and older generations of Sul Ross Exes?

Marketing these days is so different across the board, I just attended an amazing conference where the key note speaker Mark Schaefer discussed how the most human company wins! I truly believe the more human experiences that we can give our Alumni that this will help us gain their support. I have a Certification in Texas Friendly Customer Service, I will be encouraging the team to believe in this.

Describe how fundraising will play a part in Alumni Relations.

I believe that fundraising will come along just as a natural next step as the team gains more support of the Sul Ross Alumni community. The team will develop strategies to incorporate fundraising into our communication with our Alumni network. It is important to establish some goals for the events that we host, the more support we have from alumni and external constituents, the better we can make the experiences for our members.

For more information, contact Harrell at (432) 837-8697 or email hharrell@sulross.edu.