This fall marks the start of my fifth year as a part of the St. Thomas community. I can honestly say that of all of the projects and programs I’ve been a part of during my tenure, the Promises Kept Tour has been one of the most fun and engaging. This was made so primarily by our outstanding alumni – the hundreds who attended the events and especially those who hosted our team at the various locations we visited.

tour1The Promises Kept Tour was a celebration of the Opus College of Business’ recent AACSB accreditation, which has put the UST graduate business programs on the global map by joining the 5% of business schools worldwide with this distinction. The tour was also a time for sharing the other developments at the university, including new buildings, a dramatic increase in the number of tenure track faculty and a sharpened focus on earning international recognition for our programs.

Since our first tour stop in March, we have brought the tour to 11 Fortune 500 companies and leading area banks. The events have varied in size and attendance ranging from a small but enthusiastic group at Cummins to much larger groups at Target and General Mills. Large or small, every visit has heightened engagement and left a story to tell.

tour2The Promises Kept Tour referred to Dean Puto’s promise that our alumni would see their investment in the Opus College of Business brand grow over time, and thanks to his leadership and the quality of our alumni, that promise has been fulfilled. In addition to Cummins, Target, and General Mills, we visited 3M, Wells Fargo, Boston Scientific, Best Buy, Medtronic, U.S. Bank, Ecolab and Thomson Reuters. Through this tour, we have reached nearly 3,000 members of the UST family!

Since the tour, Jeff Kaczrowski, director of Alumni Relations, facilitated a St. Thomas Champions’ Breakfast where many of our outstanding alumni met to discuss the formation of affinity groups within their organizations. Some of the companies mentioned already have strong Opus College of Business affinity groups, but others are just getting started. These affinity groups allow our alumni and current students to connect to one another within their organizations, which is ideal for mentoring, job advancement and camaraderie. A final positive outcome of the tour is that many HR representatives attended and were impressed with the quality and quantity of the UST graduate business alumni mingling in the room. This bodes well for hiring opportunities in our Graduate Business Career Services department.

I have long been proud of the institution I represent and the people who make it great, namely our students and alumni, and the Promises Kept Tour has only increased the conviction that UST graduate business students and alumni truly are the best and brightest.