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UMGC Alumni AssociationPassion for UMGC Inspires Volunteerism and Philanthropy

When Robert Alonso Jr. ’08 was a graduate student at UMGC, he didn’t realize that the University would continue to shape his life for years to come. Since then, he’s dedicated nearly 15 years of his time and talent to strengthening the UMGC community.

Sharing his knowledge as a teaching assistant
During his MBA program, instructors were so impressed with Alonso that they invited him to return to the classroom as a teaching assistant (TA) before he even graduated in 2008. Reluctant at first, he ultimately accepted the offer so he could contribute to the program that had benefitted him so much.

“I spent nine years as a TA and worked with two different MBA-level classes,” he explains. “I was thrilled to be able to work with upcoming students, mentor them and show them the value their degrees would have for their careers.”

In addition to his contributions in the classroom, Alonso believes in giving back to his community.  As a result, in 2015 he was honored at the 26th UMGC Alumni Awards with an Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Award, which recognizes a UMGC alumnus who has shown exemplary volunteer service over the course of the current year. For more than 15 years, Alonso has volunteered for the “Make-A-Wish” Foundation and is recipient of a Make-A-Wish service award. He also received a service award from the Starlight-Starbright Foundation. Alonso has volunteered for numerous non-profits since 1992. 

A commitment to serve others
Although Alonso is the director of Business & Finance for The Field School, he still takes the time to give back to his alma mater and other organizations that touch his heart. Additionally, he has been a devoted mentor with t UMGC’s Community Connect Program and has participated in many University volunteer activities over the last few years, finding ways to help wherever he is needed.

“He is a tremendous asset to the university,” says UMGC Associate Vice President for Career Services and Alumni Relations Nikki Sandoval. “Whenever we ask him for support, he comes to the table with positivity, energy and insights to help achieve the goals for the student and alumni community.”

In 2019, he was elected to serve as UMGC’s Alumni Advisory Board president, a role he never imagined he would have. 

“In 2008, I knew I had a great set of mentors and that they recognized my contributions, but I didn’t anticipate when I was a Teaching Assistant that I would ever move into a strategic leadership role with the UMGC Alumni Advisory Board.” 

During his two-year term, he’s had to deal with unexpected challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial impact it has had on students. 

“The highlight of my term has been seeing the way the University and the alumni community have come together to rally around our students and provide financial assistance to those who needed it so they could remain in their programs,” he says. 

Continued generosity
Alonso recently made a bequest to UMGC as part of his planned giving. This gift will support the Miyares Family Scholarship Fund in honor of UMGC past president Javier Miyares, who recently retired. The scholarship was established in 2014 to provide support to undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need. 

“I was inspired by all that former President Miyares accomplished during his tenure, and again by seeing our alumni community rally around our students in need,” he says. “I felt like the appropriate next step was to consider the Miyares Family Scholarship in my planned giving.”  

Looking to the future
Alonso’s term as president of UMGC’s Alumni Advisory Board ends this summer, but he plans to continue serving the UMGC community.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he says. “It’s been a very rewarding experience, and I look forward to many more years of association with UMGC. Whatever I can do to help my alma mater, you can count on me to do that.” 

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