On Nov. 11, 2021, Vice President of Advancement Suzanne Rothwell announced the promotion of Carolyn Preul to director of Alumni Relations at Columbia College. Preul has been part of the CC team for more than seven years, specializing in graphic design and marketing for Alumni Relations, Development and Strategic Communications departments.
Beginning as an Associate Director of Alumni Relations in 2014, Preul has built invaluable relationships with many of the college’s alumni around the country. In her new role, Preul will continue to serve as the Editor of Affinity Magazine, the college’s official alumni publication, while also serving as the liaison to the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) Advisory Council.
Preul recently sat down with CC Connected to go in-depth about her personal background, history at the college and offer a look ahead to the future of CC Alumni Relations.
CC Connected: Tell the Columbia College community a little about yourself.
Carolyn Preul: I was raised in the suburbs of Dallas and despite the introverted nature of my youth, I chose the University of Missouri for college. I fell in love with Columbia and a few years later, my husband, Tyler. We have two children and make the most of family time. We enjoy camping in our favorite Missouri State Parks or taking vacations that often center around swimming pools.
CCC: What is your professional background? When did you first get introduced to higher education?
CP: I studied journalism and magazine design in college and did exactly that for the first 10 years of my career. I started as a graphic designer and worked my way up to creative director of Columbia’s city magazine, Inside Columbia. In 2012, my employer partnered with Columbia College to produce Affinity magazine. Even though my husband is a 2004 graduate of the Columbia College Evening Program, I didn’t realize how expansive the college was until taking on that project.
CCC: When the opportunity arose to originally join Columbia College, what attracted you to the available job and the college community as a whole?
CP: I had the unique opportunity to get to know the college from an insider perspective. I produced features on Dr. Gerald T. Brouder’s presidency, the 50th anniversary of the CCAA and so many vibrant activities. You could feel the energy through these stories. Alumni were rightfully proud of their alma mater, and I wanted to be a part of it!
CCC: Even before your promotion to your current role, you have had years of experience within the Alumni Relations department. What did it mean for you personally to be named director?
CP: When I first joined Alumni Relations, I traveled around Missouri and to Colorado, Illinois and Utah to host regional alumni events. With our CC Global footprint, it was extremely helpful to visit nationwide locations and meet alumni in their communities. Did you know we have an educational center in Honolulu? That trip is still on my bucket list.
I have worked closely with the Advancement team to provide our alumni and friends the best programs and resources possible. When this position became available, I immediately turned to alumni who became personal friends and mentors for their opinions. I wanted to hear what they want from the CCAA and furiously took notes!
CCC: What are some items/concepts you hope to achieve with our alumni?
CP: We have a fantastic CCAA Advisory Council who provides valuable leadership in the best interests of our 95,000 alumni around the world. Over the coming months, we’re going to roll out more engagement opportunities for our members.
No one can speak to the benefits of a Columbia College education better than our graduates. I encourage alumni to share their personal experiences with family and friends who are looking at college programs and refer them to CC. If you need help connecting to our Admissions staff, contact us in Alumni Relations. We’ll get you to the right person!
CCC: What’s your favorite Columbia College memory thus far?
CP: I absolutely love talking to our alumni and have heard some great stories. Meeting our Christian College alumnae has been exceptionally fun. It was a different era when they were in college – nightly curfews, formal dress for dinner, when and where boys could visit students on campus. There were so many rules, and we have the demerit books in the college’s Archives to see just how often they were broken!
I also love the symbolism of the Ivy Chain ceremony. Students form a circle with a continuous chain of ivy draped from person to person and when it’s cut, they each take a piece of CC with them. It’s true – we are each a part in the college’s history, and it’s my goal to keep that spirit alive through the CCAA.