George Whitfield Jr., ’01 had been where students and alumni were – in Gillmor Student Center’s gymnasium, a place he loves. He had worked out, watched basketball games and sat in the seats. He said it wasn’t like he was a visitor. “I’m just coming back home,” he said.
Whitfield, delivered the alumni keynote when Tiffin University hosted the second annual Alumni Student Symposium in November. George is a former football student athlete who now lives in San Diego, California. He is owner and CEO of a quarterback training academy, Whitfield Athletix, and is an ESPN analyst.
Whitfield told a large room of students, faculty, staff and alumni, that the support and leadership at TU is incredible. “The people here are phenomenal,” he said. “They love you.”
As part of the symposium, Whitfield helped those attending make a playbook and asked them to find an inspiration; his was Michael Jordan. “You have every single thing you need—you all have some really big inspirations,” he said. “The three biggest questions people have to ask themselves,” Whitfield said, are: “What do I love? Where do I want to be and how do I get there?”
“Build your team—adopt mentors; you go and adopt them,” he said. And he instructed everyone to find a believer. “It’s your dream, but you have one parent, one roommate, one best friend, or one teammate—find that person to hand that to,” he said.
From there, one has to attack. “Take on the challenge,” he said.
Young Alumni Achievement Award
Dr. Irish Spencer, ’09 who received a Master of Humanities from Tiffin University in 2009, was honored with the 2017 Young Alumni Achievement Award during the symposium. Spencer is an award-winning communications and management specialist with more than 25 years of experience in the field of broadcast and management.
During the symposium, students could attend alumni panel discussions to learn about internships, career paths and advice.
Erica Henry, ’00, ’02 chairwoman of the TU Alumni Association Board, told those gathered that as Tiffin University students and alumni, they are and will always be part of the family.
“Your role as a member of the Dragon family is not done when you graduate,” she said. Henry said Tiffin University’s purpose is to transform lives through education. Like so many things, she said, that takes a village to accomplish and to fulfill it successfully. Indeed, it is a great day to be a Dragon,” she said.
The idea for the Symposium came from the Alumni Association Board according to Vickie Wilkins, ’09, ’11 Director of Alumni Relations at Tiffin University. Board members discussed different ways the University’s alumni could give back to Tiffin University by volunteering their time as well as how they could interact and engage more with current students. “It provides current students the opportunity to hear from and forge meaningful relationships with alumni from all around the country who are thriving in their respective fields,” Wilkins said.
Symposium panelists included:
Chanel Arnold-Murray, 2012; Martin D’Amico, 2008; Kyle F. George, 2011; Michael Gibbons, 2014; Jill Gosche, 2014; Jon Hemmelgarn; Kipp Huntsberger, 2002; Alex Johnson, 2016; Dan Kurta, 2012; Devon K. Lossick, 2005; Joe Maynard, 2010; Samantha Molnar, 2014; Brian Quinn, 2005; Jamie Smith, 2011; Dr. Irish Spencer, 2009; Kit Tiell, 2009; Melissa Tiell, 2011; Benjamin Edward Vermaaten, 1998; George Whitfield Jr., 2001