Relationship-building is key for new AEC chair

By Traci Crockett '01

Looking back on the 15 years since he graduated from Roanoke College, Rick Oglesbee '95 said he realizes just how influential his college experiences have been in his life. He is particularly grateful for important personal relationships that began during his time on campus.

After graduating, he lived in Miami for two years before packing up and moving to Charlotte, N.C. to be near friends from the College who lived there. He has been in Charlotte ever since and enjoys a growing group of Maroons in the Charlotte area.

Oglesbee, a vice president and wealth management advisor with Merrill Lynch, has maintained the College relationships he developed 15 years ago and continued to connect with other alums in the Charlotte area. Now, he will build College relationships in a more formal capacity.

In July, Oglesbee was named president of the Alumni Executive Council. As AEC president, he hopes to continue, even expand, the work of his predecessor, Pam Cabalka '76, by establishing similar priorities for the Council: increase the percentage of alumni donors; student recruitment; and job placement.

"We have to educate members about the actual cost of educating each student," Oglesbee said, referring to one of his goals. Tuition at Roanoke covers just 54 percent of the cost of educating a student.

"We need to get the word out that the percentage of donors is more important than the specific dollar amounts," he said. "Raising the percentage will help Roanoke with U.S. News rankings, and grants and scholarships for the campus."

The Charlotte alumni chapter, of which Oglesbee is a former chair, hosts several events annually and consistently enjoys great attendance.

"We have a great group of graduates from the '70s through the 2000s who like to do new things," Oglesbee said.

In 2009, chapter vice chair Kerry Peterson '07 organized a fantasy football tournament as a fund-raising activity for the College. Ten people participated in 2009, and in 2010, 20 people signed up.

The chapter also annually hosts a spring Pops in the Park event, a gathering at a Minor League Baseball game, a tailgate at a Carolina Panthers football game, and a holiday reception each year.

"We try to have those events every year so that people can remember and talk about them," Oglesbee said.

Oglesbee said he hopes each of his fellow Maroons will consider how they might make a difference for the College.

"It's important for our alumni to give back to Roanoke to ensure that our current and future students have the same opportunities and experiences that we had," he said.

About the author: Traci Crockett '01 earned her B.A. in English with a concentration in communications. She returned to Roanoke to work in the public relations office in 2005 and is now working as associate director of alumni relations, communications at American University in Washington, D.C.