A letter from Alumni Association President Allyson Handley

Dear fellow Johns Hopkins Alumni,

Happy New Year 2019!

     This past fall, I assumed the privilege of becoming your Alumni Association President for the next two years. I want to thank David Yaffe (A&S ’74) for all of the wonderful work he has done in his tenure as our Alumni Association President.  I am personally honored to be following in David’s impressive footsteps. I am also reminded of a favorite little poem that my mother shared with me many years ago.

                                                The future lies before us
                                                Like a sheet of driven snow
                                                Be careful how you step into it
                                                For every step will show

     Since I am originally a Canadian, snow has special significance for me. When I moved to Baltimore with my family in 1973, I felt like I had moved to the tropics since during my eight years of living there, it had only snowed four times!  Fast forward to my last university presidency at the University of Maine at Augusta where snow and winter played a substantial role in the development of UMA’s online and distance learning curricular offerings.  Many citizens of Maine are isolated by the vast geography and the long, hard winters.

     At the same time, snow is spectacularly beautiful especially when newly fallen and pristine white.  So I would like to claim the metaphor of “footsteps in the snow” as my primary guiding principle as the Alumni Council and I embark on following and extending the footsteps that David Yaffe has created during his past two years of leadership.  As we begin this new journey, members of the Alumni Council and I will establish two personal “engagement” priorities:

Priority #1: How can we personally increase or enhance our engagement with Johns Hopkins

Priority #2: How can we increase or enhance the engagement of our greater alumni community as well as current students with Johns Hopkins?

     In attempting to answer those two questions for myself, I immediately reflected on the life changing experience that occurred for me when I completed my masters and doctoral degrees at the Johns Hopkins School of Education during the 1970’s.  At that time, I had no idea of how dramatically impactful my Hopkins graduate degrees would be in my career and in my life.  A Hopkins degree attests to the rigor, the focus, the intellectual discipline, and the dedication that we undertook to earn our degrees.  

     Priority #1 encourages us to reflect on our Hopkins experience and to enhance our commitment to the university.  Whether that be to follow the Alumni Association on social media, sign up to mentor a student on GoHopOnline.com, act as a social media ambassador through Hopkins Promoters, attend an event, or support the Alumni Association, engagement means different things to different people, and each is significant.

     Priority #2 encourages us to re-examine and enhance our efforts to engage other Hopkins alumni and students in the ongoing events, programs, and activities of the Alumni Association.  Two of my priorities as your president, for example, will be to work with our Alumni Council to further develop meaningful and impactful Lifelong Learning and Mentorship opportunities.  I believe that engagement drives commitment.  In the french language, the noun engagement is translated as “obligation”.  Indeed, I fervently believe that we each have an obligation to give back to the organization that helped to educate and shape us.

     I hope that as you read these priorities, you yourself will consider how you would like to personally engage with the university, your fellow alumni, and current students.  You can share your thoughts by taking the 2019 Alumni Survey, which launched on January 14.

     I’m so thankful and honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Alumni Association President. I am excited about the next two years and what it holds for us as we partner to strengthen and grow our Alumni Association. Together, we can leave new “footsteps in the snow” to reflect our individual and collective commitment to Johns Hopkins.

Best wishes,

Allyson Hughes Handley
President, Alumni Council
The Johns Hopkins Alumni Association 

P.S. To contact me, send an email to JHAA_President@jhu.edu and follow me on Twitter (@JHAA_President) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/JHAAPresident). I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to and where you are in your alumni journey. Send me a note, and be sure to complete your 2019 Alumni Survey.