Oui! Ja! Si! So say alumni who put down roots in Paris, London, Geneva, Rome, Cologne and Madrid. Yes, they speak fluent Marquette and get plenty of practice talking with one another at networking events, alumni Masses, student welcome receptions and more, thanks to the European Alumni Network.
If there is a birthplace for the European Alumni Network, it has to be Paris. Kelly Kliebhan, Arts ’99, moved to France in 2009 and pretty quickly began working with Martha Moore and the alumni relations staff on campus to connect with other alumni in Europe. A kickoff event brought together 20 Marquetters for Mass and a night on the Champs Elysees.
“What an amazing night,” Kliebhan wrote in an email. “Thanks to each and every one of you for making the journey to be with us in Paris on this historical inaugural night of Marquette alums from across Western Europe.”
Belton Flournoy, Bus Ad ’03, joined the movement when he moved to London. As the former young alumni rep on the Alumni National Board of Directors, he knew how to reach out and get Marquetters in Great Britain excited. “The first event we threw was a reception in October 2010,” Flournoy says. “The highlight of the night was when a graduate from the 1970s informed me that he moved to London right after graduating and this was the first time he had reconnected with the university.”
The ex-pats gather to enjoy Milwaukee-style blue and gold camaraderie, to hear university updates, to connect with students who are studying abroad, and, most important, to share National Marquette Day with proper fans. So far, 456 alumni and parent ex-pats in 11 countries are connected via email.
“The diversity of the European alumni community today is only rivaled by the diversity of events taking place across cultures and countries, from dinner in stunning locations to Marquette Day pub celebrations to a wine auction complete with Marquette Christmas stockings,” writes Kliebhan. “It’s a wonderful time to be part of our growing network.”
The European Alumni Network is working to establish a social network for members on Facebook and LinkedIn, a Europe-wide calendar of Marquette gatherings, and a list of student ambassadors to connect with all Marquette students studying far from home.
Alumni traveling abroad any time, including for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, will want to get in on the fun.
For updates about the European Alumni Network, contact Martha Moore at (414) 288-0398 or firstname.lastname@example.org. — JMM