Alumni Association Q&A: Michigan Chapter board member Robert Veres

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. — Penn State football’s annual trip to Michigan has the Nittany Lions playing the Spartans in East Lansing — the team typically alternates between playing either Michigan or Michigan State — and the Alumni Association's Michigan Chapter is set to welcome Nittany Nation with an alumni mixer Friday night, Nov. 3, that will feature the Pep Band, Penn State cheerleaders and Nittany Lion. 

Check out the Alumni Association’s Q&A with chapter board member Robert Veres, a 1974 Penn State graduate in the College of Engineering, and visit the chapter on Facebook to learn more.

Penn State Alumni Association: What are your expectations for this weekend, and how long have you been planning for the Penn State-Michigan State game?

Robert Veres: The planning for this Friday night’s Michigan State welcoming event began about nine months ago. Every year, our alumni chapter in Michigan hosts a Friday night gathering before the Michigan or Michigan State football game to welcome local members and Penn Staters from around the nation. We host an event at the Eastern Michigan University convocation center when Penn State comes to Ann Arbor, and this year, we return to Reno’s Sports Bar in East Lansing for the Michigan State away game.

Penn State Alumni Association: How much of an opportunity is this weekend for your chapter, and what will your messages be for alumni/Penn Staters you meet? 

Robert Veres: This weekend provides us an opportunity to extend an informal Friday night family welcome to Penn Staters from around the nation the night before our Nittany Lion football team takes on Sparty. It’s a unique opportunity to meet with our University Park alumni interfaces, legendary alumni, and experience the spirit of our Pep Band, cheerleaders and Nittany Lion “up close and personal!”

Penn State Alumni Association: Following up, what’s your message when you meet Penn Staters who don’t have any experience or prior knowledge of your chapter? How do you get them excited/engaged with what you’re doing, and how important is it to get new members into the chapter?

Robert Veres: Our chapter provides a variety of events throughout the year to facilitate Penn Staters living in a state full of Wolverines and Spartans to meet and connect. Example events include:

— Annual meeting at the Dearborn Inn;

— Pregame gatherings to support nonfootball sports team such as last year’s men’s hockey at Michigan;

— August sendoff picnic where we award scholarships to Michigan students attending Penn State;

— Football game and bowl watches, some of which are joint with other Big Ten chapters in Michigan; 

— Sponsoring gatherings of interns and new hires; and

— Free “Lionsight” pick ’em contests for NCAA basketball’s March Madness and football bowl games.

We welcome the involvement, excitement, new ideas and leadership that new members bring to our chapter.

Penn State Alumni Association: On a personal level, how exciting is it when Penn State football comes to Michigan and Penn Staters converge on the city? 

Robert Veres: It’s great that Penn State is in the Big Ten East Division, as it means either Michigan or Michigan State will be here every year. It’s an extra opportunity to show our Penn State pride to our Spartan and Wolverine friends and neighbors.

Penn State Alumni Association: What led you to Penn State as a student, and how has Penn State prepared you for your personal and professional life? Are there any lessons you learned at Penn State that have stayed with you? 

Robert Veres: Probably one of the biggest lessons was the value of the Penn State reputation and brand in the corporate world. I attended graduate school at Penn State after earning my undergraduate degree at another large university in New York state. 

As I interviewed for post-Penn State graduation employment, I found recruiters “recruiting me” rather than having to “market myself” to them. In one memorable interview, I began by outlining why I was the best candidate for a position. I no sooner got started, when the recruiter stopped me and said; “You are from Penn State. We know what you can do. Here’s why we think our company is a good fit for you.”

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Last Updated November 02, 2017