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dragon alumni symposium flyer

The 6th annual Dragon Alumni Symposium

by Rebecca Kielbasa

Tiffin University’s own President Schumacher kicked off the 6th annual Dragon Alumni Symposium with a few words about the TU ICARE Values and this academic year being the year of Entrepreneurship. With excitement for the year and the opportunities it will bring, President Schumacher reminded the attendees of TU’s purpose to “transform lives through education.”

The Chair of the Alumni Association, Brenda Collins, followed President Schumacher with a quick greeting and appreciation for the day, “Today is a great day to be a Dragon.”

A panel of 6 alumni was the main focus of the event. Panelists included alumni Mike Conrad ‘90, Ryan Harris ‘20, Kit Shellhouse ‘95/’02, Kayla Sonnenberg ‘17, Matt Taylor ‘12 and Elizabeth Victor ‘04/’14.

Symposium host, Director of Alumni Relations Vitoria Wilkins, led a Q & A with the panel covering topics from internships to career paths and networking advice. A highlight of the panel was the discussion on a lesson each alumnus learned while at TU:

  • “Dare to be different” – Mike Conrad, ‘90
  • “Self-improvement is key – continue to grow, continue to educate” – Kit Shellhouse, ‘95/’02
  • “Take risks and go out of your comfort zone, be a team player” – Matt Taylor, ‘12
  • “Take opportunities provided to you and love what you do” – Kayla Sonnenberg, ‘17
  • “Your path may not be like everyone else, and that is OK. Persevere, you will find our way”- Elizabeth Victor, ‘04/’14
  • “It is essential to be involved and find opportunities, work hard and be approachable” -Ryan Harris, ‘20

After the panel discussion, the alumni awards were announced. The Alumni Achievement Award was received by Gary E. Robinette, having served as the Director of the Skyline Champion Corporation. Robinette was a 1972 graduate of TU. Devin Ambrose was the recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award, currently serving as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ambrose graduated from TU in 2016. Last but not least, Ryan Pessell was the recipient of the Alumni Service Award. Pessel is the owner and managing partner at Hitchings Insurance Agency, Inc, and a 2007 graduate of TU.

A lunch opportunity to continue the conversation with the alumni panelist speakers and award recipients took place directly after the symposium.