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Big Names in College Alumni

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Big Names in College Alumni

Alumni are the driving force behind the reputations and continued success of every university. In this increasingly connected age, the opinions and contributions of people who have passed through any given school matter now more than ever. Alumni serve not only to engage the community and drum up support, but also contribute to the success of their university on a broader scale. Many notable alumni from universities across the nation choose to give back in many different forms, ranging from monetary donations to going back and actually teaching at their alma mater. Often the post-collegiate success of these alumni contributes greatly toward the strength of a school’s reputation.

For example, Brandon Sanderson, fantasy and science fiction writer best known for the Mistborn series, continues to advocate and contribute to his alma mater, Brigham Young University. Sanderson built this relationship early on in his career, having had experience on the staff of the Leading Edge, a speculative fiction magazine published by the University. He continues his involvement by returning to the University occasionally to teach a creative writing course focused on the craft of writing fiction and creating a story from conception to advice on getting their work published.

Stephen King, a graduate of the University of Maine best known as the king of the horror genre with immediately recognizable titles such as CarrieThe Shining, or the more recent Dark Tower Series., is also a notable and active alumni. His relations with the university began with an unobtrusive column in the university paper titled “Steve King’s Garbage Truck” and has since grown with many contributions, lectures, and advocacy.

Harvard alum Andrew Farkas , CEO of Island Capital Group and has made a name for himself in New York City Real Estate. Farkas still has strong ties to his alma mater, and has funded organizations like the Hasty Pudding Institute, a theatrical group at Harvard.

Active advocacy and contribution is not the only way to contribute as an alumnus. Sean Astin, best known for his role in The Goonies and as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, associates with UCLA but only rarely makes an appearance. One highlight of his contributions is the commencement speech he gave for the department of English in 2011.

The reasons alumni contribute to their alma mater are as varied as the alumni themselves. Anything from a sense of gratitude, paying it forward, or the desire to see the next generation of students succeed just as they have are common reasons an alumnus will choose to devote time and money to their school.