Alumni Association Q&A: Central Ohio Chapter President Jaimie McQuirt

Editor’s note: The Alumni Association and a local alumni chapter traditionally co-host a mixer the night before each away football game. This season, the Alumni Association will spotlight alumni volunteer leaders as they prepare for these events that bring together Penn State alumni, fans and friends.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Thousands of Penn State alumni and fans will converge on Columbus, Ohio, this weekend for the big-time clash between No. 2 Penn State and No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday afternoon.

It’s important to note, however, this won’t be the only time that you can find Nittany Lions in Buckeye territory. That’s thanks to the Alumni Association’s Central Ohio Chapter, which provides professional and social opportunities throughout the year for Penn Staters living in the area.

The chapter will co-host an alumni mixer Friday night, Oct. 27; more details about the event and ticket information can be found on the group’s website. More than 300 people attended the group’s pregame event two years ago, and the Penn State cheerleaders and Nittany Lion will make special appearances on Friday night. 

Chapter President Jaimie McQuirt grew up in Columbus and graduated from Penn State in 1998 with a degree from the Smeal College of Business. She says that having that blue-and-white connection is particularly important when living in another Big Ten community.

Check out the Alumni Association’s Q&A with McQuirt below, and also visit the chapter on Facebook to learn more about the group. 

Penn State Alumni Association: How did you initially become involved with your alumni chapter, and what inspired you to accept a leadership position?

Jaimie McQuirt: I was born and raised in Columbus and came back home after graduating and accepting a job in 1998. I was familiar with the city and had many family and friends in the area, but soon after returning home, I started searching for the connection to my Penn State family. I slowly became involved with the Central Ohio Chapter by attending football game watches and participating in other chapter events. Eventually, I was inspired to become a member of the board after a few years of involvement with the group and held various positions before becoming president. I was inspired to accept a leadership position in my group in order to promote Penn State pride and connect with members of the central Ohio community over our love for Penn State. Over the years, I have grown my Penn State family and built friendships that will last a lifetime.

Penn State Alumni Association: Were you involved with any Alumni Association-related activities as a student, and following up on the first question, how did you learn about joining an Alumni Association chapter? Was joining an alumni chapter something you knew about even as a student?

Jaimie McQuirt: I first learned of the Alumni Association while in high school. Soon after I was accepted into Penn State, the Central Ohio Chapter immediately embraced my parents, provided information on the University, and connected us to other Penn State families and students. I attended the sendoff picnic, where I met other incoming freshmen as well as Central Ohio alumni. I always will remember the welcome and opportunities provided by our local chapter and strive to provide the same to our current and future students.

Penn State Alumni Association: Having a leadership position within your alumni chapter, did you have any prior experience that helped prepare you for this leadership position, and what have you learned during your time that's helped you grow, personally and professionally?

Jaimie McQuirt: While at Penn State, I was involved with many activities and organizations that provided me with leadership opportunities and also have been involved with the Central Ohio Chapter for many years. When I first became involved with the Central Ohio Chapter, I participated on committees. After wanting to get more involved, I took on additional leadership roles, serving as secretary, vice president, and eventually, president.

During my time as chapter president, I’ve learned the importance and value of engaging all board members and keeping open lines of communication. We have limited resources, so working as a team and sharing ideas is key to our chapter growth and well-being. I also learned the importance of networking with other chapters and using available resources. Finally, being in a leadership position and the voice of the Central Ohio Chapter has helped me to develop additional social and communication skills that I apply in my personal and professional life.

Penn State Alumni Association: Do you have any members who've belonged to the chapter for a long time, perhaps decades? If so, how special is it to bridge those generational gaps and have shared Penn State experiences with alumni who might've graduated decades earlier?

Jaimie McQuirt: We have a mix of alumni involved with the chapter, everywhere from the 1950s to those who graduated this past spring. At one of our recent sendoff picnics, we had seven decades of Penn State pride, including alumni from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, and 2010s. It is special to see how all the different ages bond over their love for Penn State. Alumni of all ages love to share stories about the dorms, roommates, buildings on campus, favorite restaurants, and how the campus has changed. There may be differences in ages, but the love for Penn State is a common bond that bridges those gaps.

Penn State Alumni Association: In what ways does belonging to an alumni chapter help you stay connected to Penn State, and why is it important to keep that connection?

Jaimie McQuirt: The Penn State family and connection is especially important living in a Big Ten town filled with Ohio State fans. It is important to provide our alumni in the central Ohio area with opportunities to fellowship and network with other Penn State fans in a friendly environment. The Central Ohio Chapter is a great network for people starting their careers or relocating to Columbus. We provide both social and service activities throughout the year that help foster the connection to Penn State and provide opportunities to meet new people in the area. We wear our blue-and-white with pride in Columbus, and often it leads to conversations and connections to fellow alumni while out at grocery stores, restaurants, and festivals in the community.

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Last Updated December 18, 2017