Columbus State Welcomes New Alumni Relations Director

Jennifer JoynerCOLUMBUS, Ga. - Over the past four years, Jennifer Joyner has guided the Children’s Miracle Network for the Columbus Regional Medical Foundation, cultivating community awareness and support for children’s medical services.

Recently, though, the Macon native returned to her higher education career roots as Columbus State University’s new director of alumni relations, succeeding Ray Lakes, who retired last fall.

“Jennifer impressed the search committee with her broad knowledge, passion and commitment to engaging alumni,” said Meri Robinson, director of annual giving and alumni relations for CSU. “Columbus State will benefit from her extensive experience in cultivating and creating connections to alumni. We are very fortunate to have her join our team.”

Joyner, right, who previously worked in admissions and directed alumni services for Mercer University, is invigorated by her return to higher education “It’s exciting to be back in the youthful, creative atmosphere of a university setting,” she said.

Also a former assistant director of development for the University of South Carolina Beaufort, Joyner said Columbus State presents an especially appealing challenge. “CSU is expanding so rapidly,” she said. “There’s a great opportunity to raise alumni engagement to a new level.”

Joyner, who assumed her new duties Jan. 4, described a three-part approach to fostering such engagement:
•    Building relationships with current students.
•    Focusing on recent graduates via social networking, including social media.
•    Maintaining the support of core, long-time alums.

Making current students aware of the value of an “engaged alumnus” is also a vital, yet often overlooked, function of an alumni affairs operation.

“There are always so many talented graduates with creativity and insight that can be cycled back to the university through mentoring and other networking opportunities connected to their degree program,” said Joyner, an honors graduate in communication from Mercer. “Subsequently, alumni can discover the value of their degree increases with their contributions to the growth and success of their program and university.”

Joyner and her husband, Richard, have a 4-year-old daughter, Audrey. Beyond home and the office, her focus is service-oriented. She’s a Phi Mu fraternity area membership director and an adviser for CSU’s Theta Theta chapter, a Miss Georgia organization trustee and a sustainer for the Junior League of Columbus.