For as long as she can remember, Karen (Pugh) Kline, ’83 was immersed in all things Albion. As a child, she would stumble upon her father’s Albion sweatshirt that was neatly folded in his dresser. And like all little girls that love to play with their mother’s treasures, Karen remembers the Kappa Delta pin that sparkled in her mother’s jewelry box. She grew up in a family where stories of formal dances and band concerts were shared around the dinner table, and her son now makes up the third generation to march with the British Eighth. It’s no wonder that Karen describes Albion College as a part of the fabric of her family.
Karen’s ties to Albion don’t just end with memories, or of watching her son march in the band at football games. Just as Albion is an important part of her life, she too is an important part of Albion. Karen serves on the Parent Leadership Council and is highly involved as an Admission Ambassador. “My involvement with Albion as an alumna is not dissimilar to being a good hostess in my home,” Karen said. “I want others to be able to share the Albion College experience, feel welcome in the community and of course, get a great education and launch into the world!”
There are many ways to be involved as an Admission Ambassador. Some of Karen’s favorite aspects are sharing her personal experiences with prospective students and their families, in addition to participating in recruitment events. These events can range from attending a college fair in her hometown, or speaking to guests at an Admission Open House hosted at a local restaurant or in someone’s home. By welcoming each person with a smile and enthusiasm, Karen said she hopes to help them realize that, “With our small campus, each student not only counts, but is counted as important and special.”
Karen is also looking forward to participating in the new Referral Program, which allows a student to receive $1,000 scholarship for four years in the alumnus or alumna’s name if a referral is made and the student attends Albion. “The Referral Program allows the Admission Staff to introduce Albion College to those students that I know would be a perfect fit,” Karen said. “This is a great way for me to share Albion College with some wonderful high school students in a way that is natural and comfortable.”
Describing herself as one that bleeds purple and gold, Karen uses her strengths to give back to Albion in tangible ways as an Ambassador. She changes lives by helping students see the value of the Albion Advantage and by comforting parents with the reassurance that Albion will take good care of them. “For parents who have children already on campus, I generally just give them a hug. After all, we are family.”
For more information on how you can get involved as an Admission Ambassador, visit the Admission Ambassador page or call the Office of Admission at 800/858-6770.
Profile: Robinson Regen
When flying from Nashville, Tennessee to Detroit for their son’s first visit to Albion College, Robinson Regen and her family thought that they would make a trip to the Midwest and never come back. What they didn’t know was how much they would fall in love with the campus and the impressive Held Equestrian Center, not to mention the “adorable black squirrels” that run across the lawn.
They had one requirement for their son, Jackson, when it came to furthering his education, and that was that the college he selected had to be based on the liberal arts. He chose to come to Albion, and Robinson has been making referrals ever since.
Robinson knows firsthand how important a word-of-mouth referral to Albion College can be. It all started in the summer of 2008, when Jesha Marcy-Quay, ’11, came to Nashville to be a student worker mentoring under their horse trainer.
“Jesha is an impressive young lady who became one of Jackson’s ‘adopted big sisters.’ She is the person responsible for putting Albion College on Jackson’s radar,” Robinson said.
Jackson knew that he wanted to go somewhere different from all of his friends, and there had to be an equestrian facility nearby so that his horse could make the journey into adulthood with him.
Robinson said she’s not only impressed by the fact that the Albion Hunt Seat team is competing against strong Division I schools, but that, “from a parent’s point of view, the best part of the program is that it’s open to the entire student body, from first-time riders to those that have ridden for years.”
Combining her love for Albion College and her passion for horses, for the past two years Robinson has personally called all of the out-of-state prospective students who have expressed an interest in the equestrian program. Seeing the new referral program as a game-changer, she references the $1,000 referral-program scholarship in order to shift the entire dynamic of a conversation by breaking down the stereotype that liberal arts colleges are too expensive. “The referral program is like a magic ice-breaker for parents who are unsure of how to help guide their students,” Robinson said. “It makes it easier to share the intrinsic value of a liberal arts education.”
Not everyone can donate $1,000 for a scholarship, but the beauty of the referral program is that you simply have to make the referral for the student to receive a scholarship in your name. Robinson personally challenges alumni and parents to refer at least one prospective student within the next year.
As for herself, she will continue to serve on the Parent Leadership Council and make as many referrals as she can in an effort to have a positive impact on the lives of the upcoming generation of scholars.
“In today’s society, critical thinking, logic, and understanding the interconnectivity of the world around us is vital,” she said. “A liberal arts education will do this, but you have to take it one step further and go to a school that truly cares about its students and values its alumni. Albion continues to prove that it really does. The education the college has to offer is as unique as you are.”
Recognizing that Chicago is one of the largest markets in the country for prospective college students, Andy Harder, ’80 is focused on recruiting students from the Windy City with the help of the referral program. Chicago is a difficult market to tap into, and Andy knows from experience that a traditional college fair is not going to help attract Chicago’s high school students to a small college in Michigan.
“I believe we need to recruit one student at a time with people who know them best like a coach, equestrian trainer, pastor, or youth minister,” he said. “This isn’t about making a referral to a senior. It takes time to build these relationships.” Since many students are desperately looking for scholarships, Andy feels that the referral program has the added benefit of making a personal connection to students and their families.
As an alumnus with a son who is currently attending Albion, Andy knows about the advantages of an Albion College education, especially when it comes to forming personal connections. During his time as a student, he was fortunate to have built relationships with some of the legendary leaders in Albion’s history. “It’s the relationships that are made at Albion that make a difference. These people made a lasting impact on my life, and I’m thrilled to observe the same kind of leadership being demonstrated at Albion today,” he said.
With the understanding that many people in Chicago haven’t even heard of Albion, Andy is working hard to connect the dots by reaching out to local alumni. “There are many ties to Albion in Chicago, but we need a coordinated strategy to make those connections in order to identify students that will visit and ultimately attend,” he said.
By pulling together all of the pieces and creating a solid network of alumni in the area, he’s hoping to generate excitement about the transformation that’s happening in Albion. “I like to ask prospective students if they want to be a participant or a spectator. At Albion, the level of campus involvement is differentiating, and the result is a deeper educational experience where lifelong relationships are formed.”
For more information about the Alumni/Parent Referral Program, visit albion.edu/referral or call the Office of Admission at 800/858-6770.
Transfer Profile: Annie Ford, '17
What made you pick Albion College?
I picked Albion because I felt comfortable here. I didn't want to go to a big school where I would just feel like a number. I loved the small class sizes and professor's interest in the students. The Institute for Healthcare Professionals was a deciding factor for me. The institute offers specialized help during all steps of the application process for medical and dental school.
So far, how is Albion different from your previous school?
I previously attended Lansing Community College (LCC) for one year. Albion is different from LCC because class sizes are smaller. LCC is a commuter college so I was not living at school or getting involved on campus like I do here at Albion. The classes I take at Albion have challenged me more which has taught me to learn things more in depth.
What are you studying? What are you involved in?
I am a pre-dental student with a major in biochemistry and a minor in cell and molecular biology. I take part in numerous clubs and organizations on campus. I am a member of the women's golf team. I am in Alpha Phi Omega, a national community service fraternity, and Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity. I host prospective students as a Briton Ambassador. I am involved with the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship group. I am also a tour guide.
What are you plans after graduating from Albion?
After graduating from Albion, I plan to further my education by attending dental school.
What was the transfer process like for you?
The transfer process for me was surprisingly easy. As a freshmen at Lansing Community College I knew I wanted to transfer to Albion, so I took classes that I knew would transfer. I talked a lot with the registrar and my admissions counselor thought out the transfer process so that I knew what to expect. Everyone was very helpful and answered all of my many questions.
What's been the most pleasantly surprising thing you've seen at Albion?
I have been most pleasantly surprised by how friendly and welcoming everyone on campus is, from students, to staff, and even the president. I felt like since I was coming in as a transfer student I would have a hard time meeting people in my class, but that wasn't the case. Everyone is willing to help each other, and I wasn't expecting college to be one big community.