New World Campus alumni relations director credits scholarship for career path

February 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State World Campus has named alumna Adrienne Darrah as its new director of alumni relations. In her role, she also will oversee the Penn State World Campus Alumni Society.

When Darrah was a student at Penn State, she said her aspirations focused on art history, not philanthropy. Serendipitous circumstances not only changed the direction of her career, they led her back to Penn State.

“My career in development began purely by accident,” Darrah said. “I graduated with a B.A. in art history from Penn State and accepted a position as an assistant manager of membership and annual giving services at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A scholarship made it possible for me to attend Penn State, and while working in a development position, I made the connection between my scholarship and philanthropy. At that point, I decided to devote my career to giving back.”

Darrah has served in a number of roles focused on giving and membership for the University of Oregon Alumni Association, the University of Portland, the University of Virginia, and the Penn State Alumni Association. Her most recent position at Penn State was as an alumni and stewardship officer in the College of Information Sciences and Technology and as an instructor and lecturer for the Smeal College of Business, College of the Liberal Arts, and Penn State Altoona.

Darrah earned her master of public administration degree through Penn State World Campus in 2018. She said learning online led her to pursuing this next step in her career.

“Although we are all a part of Penn State, online learning leads to a different student experience,” said Darrah. “As a Penn State World Campus alumna, I understand that experience and firmly believe that we should set the standard for online alumni relations.”

Karen Pollack, associate vice provost for Online Education at Penn State, said Darrah’s wealth of knowledge in alumni relations and development will bring new focus on enhancing the alumni experience.

“We are pleased to have Adrienne joining our Penn State World Campus alumni relations team,” Pollack said. “We look forward to collaborating with her on exciting new ways to engage our alumni.”

Spencer Lewis, director of Development and Alumni Relations for Penn State Outreach and Online Education, mirrored Pollack’s sentiment.

“We are fortunate to have Adrienne join our team given the depth and breadth of alumni relations experience she can offer,” Lewis said. “Her experience as a Penn State World Campus student, and now as an alumna, means she can bring an insider’s perspective to the position — which will help us advance strategically.”

Darrah said her vision for alumni relations includes working with the Penn State World Campus Alumni Society to encourage members to play an active role within the University after earning their degree.

“The most important thing is to keep the conversation going between alumni and the University,” Darrah said. “We know that Penn State World Campus students are already in the habit of receiving and reading email from Penn State. We need to make sure that they know we haven’t forgotten about them and more importantly, that we want to hear from them, it is their alumni society.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 28, 2019