Becky Smith, executive director of alumni relations, is retiring on Sept. 30 after close to 39 years of service to Otterbein University.
“No other person on campus has educated for the mission, goals and vision of Otterbein at the level that Becky has," said Senior Instructor John Kengla, who worked with Smith after she was first hired. "Her love for Otterbein exceeds that of anyone I know.”
Smith has worked as executive director of alumni relations for 14 years. A major part of this role has been chairing the planning committee for the past 13 Homecoming festivals.
One of Smith's major goals was to increase attendance at Homecoming.
“There were 500 people that used to attend homecoming that we knew registered,” said Smith. “Last year we had about 2,000 people come to homecoming.”
Smith said creating a comprehensive planning committee helped the numbers increase. Various campus departments like athletics, students and alumni are included in the committee.
Smith graduated from Otterbein in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in health and minors in athletic training and psychology. Upon her graduation, Smith was hired by Otterbein as a hall director and coordinator of student activities. In 1990, her role changed to associate dean of students.
Bob Gatti, vice president and dean for student affairs, worked with Smith in the Student Affairs Office.
“I’ll be very sad to see her go,” said Gatti. “I worked with her my whole professional career, and she will be missed.”
While working at Otterbein, she earned a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University. After the executive director of alumni relations position opened, Smith interviewed for the role and was hired in 2004.
“I was pretty knowledgeable of the alumni who were students,” said Smith. “It seemed fitting … the stars just aligned for the position, my skill set and my relationships.”
Other projects Smith worked on throughout her career at Otterbein include establishing the Common Book program, leading the first fall service plunge, receiving a grant for the Center for Community Engagement and leading First Flight weekend.
Michael McGreevey, vice president for institutional advancement, is leading the search committee to fill Smith’s position. According to Smith, the interviewing process is done, and the university is close to making an offer.
In addition to planning Homecoming, the new executive director’s responsibilities include meeting with various alumni organizations, advising the university alumni council and working as editor of Towers Magazine.
When asked if she was expecting the new executive director to make changes, Smith said, “I hope so. Change is good.”