Alumni Association News

Letter From the Executive Director

When Darryll J. Pines assumed the presidency in July,

he was eager to meet with the Board of Governors. High on his call-to-action list: Increase Alumni Association membership.

Membership provides alumni like you with unique opportunities to grow professionally and to enjoy meaningful personal experiences while demonstrating your commitment to your alma mater. And it also helps the university, because every membership counts as a donation, and boosts our participation numbers in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings.

Last year, we conducted an alumni survey asking questions such as “What would make you want to join the Alumni Association?” You answered, and we acted. Over the past 12 months:

• 400 members attended events and programs for free;

• 2,669 alumni participated in professional development and networking activities;

• We upgraded membership gifts (join or renew now to receive a UMD bracelet or tie);

• Regional networks hosted 71 events off campus; and

• We celebrated 800 new life members, whose names are now permanently etched on campus walls.

When COVID rocked our world, the dedicated staff at the association launched new virtual events from the safety of their home offices. These 60+ online programs drew more than 4,000 alumni during the spring and early summer.

A “Terp Talk” webinar series launched, offering tips for remote working, leadership and wellness. We supported alumni entrepreneurs through our #TerpBusiness social media campaign, urging Terps to patronize Terp-owned companies. And in partnership with the Office of Innovation and Economic Development, we launched Terps Unite to connect alumni entrepreneurs with resources for small business owners.

Another quick decision we made was to create virtual experiences for Terp children, whose summer plans were largely squelched by the pandemic. Read more below.

Thank you to our approximately 20,000 members for making these programs possible. If you’re not a member, please consider solidifying your relationship with the association and join today.

Go Terps!

Amy Eichhorst

Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations

Executive Director, University of Maryland Alumni Association

Memories Made at Camp Diamondback

More than 250 happy campers gathered on Aug. 15 around the final virtual campfire, sans mosquitoes and smoky air, to close out six weeks of unique summer fun sponsored by the Alumni Association.

During the themed weeks of Camp Diamondback, future Terps ages 5-12 folded origami, drew pictures of Testudo and took a modern dance class. Kids enjoyed a live talk about the Hubble Space Telescope and a session on coding, while more than 200 parents competed in trivia contests and learned photography skills.

“My child really enjoyed the activities and interaction with other kids,” Ihuoma Abiarmiri ’05 said in an email to the Alumni Association. “This is a wonderful program, and I truly appreciate all of the hard work from your team. Thank you!”

Our Newest Members: the Class of 2020

Graduating amid a historic pandemic, the Class of 2020 showed resilience, positivity and Maryland pride. We’re celebrating the unique achievements of the more than 8,500 students who walked across their living rooms rather than a commencement stage in May, gifting graduates with a complimentary one-year membership in the Alumni Association. Throughout the next year, we’ll provide exclusive experiences, networking opportunities and resources to help our newest alumni maintain their connection with Maryland and boost their career opportunities. Congratulations!

Learn more:

Family’s Terp Roots Run Deep—16 (Pairs of) Feet So Far

By Kimberly Marselas ’00 | Illustration by Valerie Morgan; photos courtesy of Jacqueline Ford

When Mariana Sanchez Phifer ’84 filed out of a packed Cole Field House following a freshman exam, she felt a weight lift from her shoulders. In its place was a new confidence that the University of Maryland was the right school for her.

The daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants who hoped to give their eight children a better life, Sanchez was the first to attend a four-year school. She quickly introduced her family to the possibilities—and fun—that UMD offered.

Over the next four decades, the campus welcomed 15 additional members of the extended Sanchez clan.

“Our parents let us look at other schools, but it was always a good choice for us,” says Jacqueline Ford ’20, M.P.P. ’21, who often attended tailgates and other on-campus events with the growing roster of Terp relatives, including aunt Mariana and mom Patricia. “We’ve all known Maryland as a great option because it’s a great school, and it’s affordable.”

A snapshot from the early 2000s captured Ford and her sister, Sophia, in tiny Terrapin cheerleader outfits, likely taken not long after their twin cousins, Jessica and Jocelyn Maldonado, had graduated.

A chronicle of the family’s UMD experiences reads like an admissions brochure, with majors from finance to criminology to studio art and favorite memories including Art Attack concerts, sorority life, Homecoming parades, internships and study abroad opportunities. Several family members returned for graduate degrees, and at least one marriage resulted from those extra years on campus.

Patricia Ford ’91 is the youngest of the original Sanchez siblings. After completing an internship at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management, she earned a full scholarship her senior year.

She remembers proudly waving to her father, Luis, in the crowd on graduation day. Though Luis and his wife, Rosalia, never attended UMD, their choice to settle in neighboring Takoma Park nearly 60 years ago established a legacy that continues with three Terps enrolled this fall.

Jacqueline looks forward to new memories and networking opportunities as a new Alumni Association member—and hopes to bring her youngest sister into the Terp family too.

Are your Maryland roots as deep as the Sanchez family’s? If so, email us your story at


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