In honor of this amorous holiday, we thought we would take this opportunity to look at #alumnilove a little bit more seriously. When I receive my alumni magazine, one of my favorite things to do is look at the wedding announcements section. I am always in awe of how many Bowdoin couples end up marrying each other. I remember touring the college and hearing that 50% of Bowdoin alums marry another alum. Fifty percent?! This statistic seemed shocking, and it was—later being disproved when I checked with my alumni office that estimated only 9% of Bowdoin alums were married to one another.
Swarthmore College is known as the “Quaker Matchbox” for its ability to match fellow alums. The once all male college has 19,474 living alumni. Of this alumni population, 2,602 (about 13%) of those alums are married to one another, further validating the matchbox moniker. These statistics only include alumni who have reported their marital status to the college. My suspicion is that this number, at both Bowdoin and Swarthmore is actually higher.
This past weekend one of my best friends from college, Kaitlin, got engaged to another fellow Polar Bear. One of the first things she told me was, “You are responsible for bringing the Bowdoin banner to the wedding”. I can already picture the photo of the huge group of Bowdoin alumni at the wedding—friends who all watched Kaitlin and Peter’s relationship blossom on campus. I asked Kait to comment on whether she feels being in a relationship with a fellow alum influences her ongoing relationship with our alma mater. Her response: “Being engaged to a fellow alum helps us both stay more connected to Bowdoin and our friends there. It is a really important shared experience for us that helped to shape our relationship.”
In 2010 The Princeton Alumni Weekly took a closer look at alumni “engagement” statistics. While they were unable to track down an exact number of Princeton couples, the resounding trend was that the Ivy League campus is a veritable love nest, not only forming couples while they are studying at Princeton, but often far after, with couples meeting at alumni events and through friends.
The article quotes a Princeton alum and psychologist, Julie Anderson, who says, “Sharing common experiences, intellectual pursuits, and friendship circles are among the many aspects that can strengthen relationship bonds.” Both college and high school are times when people are learning new things about themselves, meeting new people and actually “growing up”. This is a perfect environment in which to foster and grow a relationship.
At EverTrue we all pride ourselves in being active and involved alumni and true to form, we have two members of our team who have embraced #alumnilove. VP of Alumni Engagement, Jesse Bardo, takes his title to heart following his engagement to a fellow Andover alum. I asked Jesse’s fiancé Courtney about her alumni engagement. She said, “I have always been obsessed with Andover, but now [being with Jesse] I am even more crazy about the school and being a loyal alum. It’s a big part of each of our lives that we can share.”
If you want to read more alumni engagement stories, both Cornell University and Georgia Tech share some great ones both here and here.
Happy Valentine’s Day from team EverTrue. Remember to spread the #alumnilove!