When UR students graduate, most expect to do any number of things like travel, get a job or enroll in graduate school. At the very least, they expect to leave campus.
For some students, their college home becomes a permanent home when they decide to start a career at UR. Some might start work here right after graduation and some find their way back after some time away.
As of January 2010, UR and Strong Memorial Hospital had nearly 20,000 employees, making them the largest employer in the Rochester area. The Office of Alumni Relations estimates that approximately 3,500 of those employees are, in some capacity, alumni of the University.
These alumni hold a number of different positions, from deans to doctors to security officers. Having previously been students here, these alumni employees hold a great deal of valuable information; they know how the school works, what the students are like and what it means to be a part of UR. This perspective gives them insight into the student condition and a lot of the time makes them better at their jobs.
Associate Director of Health Promotion Linda Dudman ’70 graduated with a degree in psychology and then taught third grade in Elmira, N.Y. for a few years. In 1973, she returned to Rochester and worked in the Department of Community and Preventative Medicine at the UR Medical Center and then eventually ended up at University Health Services. She began working in her current position in 1989.
“This has been a great place to work,” Dudman said. “I really like working with students.”
Dudman has had ample opportunities to interact with students in the Health Promotion Office, including, but not limited to, her work advising the University of Rochester Student Health Advisory Committee (URSHAC).
“I’m continually impressed by how engaged the students are,” she remarked. “It’s the same constant energy and enthusiasm I’ve been seeing for years.”
Director of Wilson Commons Laura Ballou ’97 was one such engaged student during her time at UR. In addition to sitting on URSHAC as a student representative alongside faculty advisor Dudman, Ballou was a founding board member of the Community Service Network (CSN) and an active participant in the Tiernan Project.
After graduating in 1997 with a degree in psychology with honors, Ballou moved to Michigan and earned a Master’s degree in social work.
Ballou’s experience at the University had a large impact on her original decision to pursue social work. Eventually she moved back to Rochester and, while she did apply for social work positions, she also had her “eye on UR.”
“My last job in Ann Arbor was [as] director of their local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency,” she explained. “A lot of my volunteers were college students and I found that I really enjoyed the interactions.”
Ballou ended up back at UR in 2002. In addition to her role as director of Wilson Commons, Ballou also advises all of the Class Councils.
“I love that I do not do the same thing every day — it keeps me on my toes,” she said. “The students at UR are amazing.”
Ballou demonstrates a particular pride for both UR students and the University itself.
“I believe in this institution and had a positive experience as an undergraduate or I would have not returned to work here,” she said. “It gives me some extra drive to make sure we are doing the best possible work in our office to make sure students have a strong sense of community. I felt that sense when I was a student and want to make sure I can pass that along.”
Dudman has a similar opinion.
“I loved this school when I visited, when I went here and now,” Dudman explained. “I’m very proud to be a part of [UR].”
Dudman especially enjoys watching the campus change and grow while it maintains its traditions and creates new ones. She specifically mentioned the gender separated housing of UR’s past and the continuation of the D’Lion Organization.
The alumni who work at UR bring a lot to their jobs and balance out the diversity and new ideas that come from employees who are not UR graduates.
“I have a good feel for what it means to be a student,” Dudman said.
All in all, alumni employees enjoy working at their collegiate stomping grounds and don’t have much to complain about.
“The only con is more of a personal one,” Ballou said. “[My husband] John and I are both alums that work here, so it can be a lot of UR talk all of the time.”
Esce is a member of
the class of 2015.