Alumni Association News

Leading With Pride

Meet Kirk Bell ’88, who began his two-year term as president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors on July 1. He’s the director of application quality assurance at Fannie Mae, and he and his wife, Eileen, sit on the Parents Advisory Council and support the Terrapin Club. Bell is down to earth but revved up to grow the alumni network. He tells Terp more.–lb

proudest maryland moment: My first is graduating, of course. My second is that my daughter just graduated in 2016, one son is a senior and a second son is a freshman. So I’m proudest that as a family we’re all big Maryland supporters, and we’ll always have that connection together.

Favorite campus hangout:

The front steps or the TV room of the Phi Sigma Kappa house back in the 1980s, before the Internet, when we’d be watching or talking sports—we were all from different backgrounds so we rooted for different teams—or going to the 7-Eleven after a party for a Big Gulp run and sitting outside and shooting the breeze with a bunch of fraternity brothers who today are some of my closest friends.

Most important thing you learned:

Pride. I feel like I had Maryland pride before Maryland pride was a thing. I’ll never forget that when my first son got in (to umd) through Freshman Connection, he was thrilled. He said, “It was all I wanted my entire life.” My kids have grown up on it.

What you miss most at UMD:

A lack of responsibility (laughs), to be free and easy and enjoy life. You’re not worrying about paying a mortgage or your kids’ tuition or raising them. You’re just getting to explore different things.

Your goals as president of the board of governors:

One of my biggest goals is to raise awareness of the Alumni Association, getting alumni to join and support Maryland for the next generation. I want them to be active, to participate, to connect and to enjoy.

The role you’ll play in fearless ideas:

the campaign for Maryland: I’ll be out there, speaking about the campaign, raising awareness, really being a champion for it, encouraging people to donate and be active supporters of your alma mater.

How you hope to leave your mark at Maryland:

If we can find a way to connect alumni to current undergrads and establish a greater tradition that says, “I want to be part of this, and part of making it better for the future,” we’ll be better off.

Connections Beyond the Classroom

When Jessi Collins ’05 signed up for the Alumni Association’s online mentorship platform two years ago, she wondered if any students or young alumni would reach out to her.

They did. Through Terrapins Connect, eight students have sought her out, eager to learn from her experience as a social worker. She has reviewed resumes, provided interview coaching and candidly answered questions about her career.

The mentees, she says, are “very prepared.” In fact, two impressed Collins so much that she’s taken on a long-term mentor role.

“Students have contacted me wanting to know how to get into social work, what my path was and how they can explore that option,” Collins says. “I got a lot more hits than I anticipated, and it’s been great.”

Collins is among more than 1,500 mentors and 3,800 mentees who have joined the Alumni Association’s online mentorship platform since its Fall 2015 launch. While Terrapins Connect provides the initial connection, individuals decide what level of communication ensues. This fall, the Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Career Center, has enhanced the program with updated technology to make it even easier for students and alumni to connect with mentors.

“It’s a great way for individuals that have been successful in their careers to give back to their alma mater and educate the next generation of Terp leaders,” says Chris Johnson, the Alumni Association’s director of campus relations.

Nicki Jackson ’17 first connected with Collins via video chat in January. Since then, they have kept in touch via email and phone, discussing everything from Jackson starting a master’s program in social work—the same one that Collins completed—to work-life balance.

“Hearing her experiences helped me be at peace, to know this was the right thing for me,” Jackson says.

Daryl Lee Hale, Alumni Association staff



3 hours prior to kickoff Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center.

Calling all alumni, friends and fans: Join the Alumni Association for its annual Homecoming Tailgate. Come explore our first beer garden and sample beers from three Terp-owned breweries in the Denise M. Moxley Gardens. Enjoy food, music and games in a festive atmosphere before heading to Maryland Stadium to watch the Terps take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Visit for more information.



The Alumni Association is co-sponsoring a new discussion series featuring four quick talks that will change your world. Next up: a showcase of Terp experts in the health field on Nov. 14 in New York City. For details and to register, visit



In 2017, Terps visited the coastal towns of Alaska (above), cruised along the Rhine River and journeyed off the beaten path in Italy. Next year, see the world with fellow Terps through the Alumni Association’s travel program. Where will 2018 take you?

Visit or call Angela Dimopoulos at 301.405.7938 to learn more.


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