CMU steps up Detroit outreach and engagement

Renewed focus includes naming first executive director of Detroit outreach

| Author: Heather Smith

New strategy and new leadership will reinvigorate Central Michigan University's commitment to the city of Detroit and the surrounding metro region.

A five-pillar strategic plan focuses on student recruitment, alumni engagement, business engagement, business development and community engagement in Michigan's largest city and metropolitan area.

Rhonda Welsh, CMU's first executive director of Detroit outreach, will drive the strategy.

"Rhonda's extensive experience will help us increase our footprint in the metro Detroit area so we can better engage alumni, foster business and community relationships, and strengthen recruitment efforts," said CMU President Bob Davies.

Welsh brings to CMU nearly 20 years of communications and community relations experience. She has served as a marketing and public relations consultant at Multi-Training Systems in Southfield, Michigan; alumni officer at Wayne State University's College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts; and assistant director of public relations for the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

CMU's Detroit-area strategic efforts include:

  • Providing opportunities for current CMU students to engage with K-12 students in metro Detroit.
  • Stationing CMU's director of business development in Detroit, along with full-time admissions and alumni personnel.
  • Fostering relationships with businesses that have high CMU alumni employee numbers, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Quicken Loans, Ford, DTE Energy and Meridian Health.
  • Partnering with community organizations to increase civic contributions and volunteer opportunities.

CMU's Detroit office, in the heart of downtown at 777 Woodward Ave., offers career services, professional development events, prospective student and financial aid workshops, and alumni gatherings for young professionals in the region. Central also has suburban Detroit centers in Clinton Township, Dearborn, Southfield, Troy and Warren.

More than 46,000 CMU graduates live in the metro Detroit region of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. That's one-third of all CMU alumni in Michigan.

About 30% of current CMU on-campus students also hail from southeast Michigan.

"Every one of our students and alumni are valued, from the Upper Peninsula to Detroit and everywhere in between," Davies said. "Because CMU has such a broad reach, it is important our resources are accessible throughout the state. The Detroit outreach position will help us to connect and engage with more metro Detroit students and alumni than ever before."

View latest news