November 25, 2009
When Alicia Botero Gutierrez '82CBA learned that there would be
a major college recruiting fair at Coral Reef High School in Miami,
FL, the high school her children currently attend, she did what any
interested parent would do and looked to see which colleges and
universities would be represented. Noticing that St. John's
University was on the list, she decided to see if there was any way
she could help share her thoughts and feelings about her alma mater
with potential students from the Miami area.
As a volunteer in St. John's Miami Alumni Chapter, Gutierrez had
already embraced the concept that alumni have a special role to
play in promoting the University's unique mission and message, so
it came as no surprise when Andrea T. Papa '88SVC Associate
Director, Student Engagement and Regional Programs, Office of
Alumni Relations received an e-mail from her offering to be part of
the St. John's team at the upcoming recruiting fair.
"Alicia had already gotten involved with the Miami Alumni Chapter
and had demonstrated her commitment and support for St. John's,"
said Papa. "It was great to learn that she was willing to
serve as a representative of the University and participate in the
recruiting of potential new students."
Of the nearly 500 high school students who attended the fair, more
than 100 visited the St. John's booth, offering Gutierrez an
exceptional opportunity to engage them with her genuine affection
for the University she loves. Sharing the booth with Kerri
Darcy, Admission Counselor, Office of Admissions, Gutierrez spoke
of her student days at
St. John's and her current involvement as an alumna while Darcy
provided information about the University today and offered
specifics about the variety of degree programs currently
"Nothing made me prouder than to talk about my experiences at
St. John's and help showcase our school in South Florida," she
said. "I really believe that we need to get the word out all
over the country and we need our alumni to step up and tell the
world how great St. John's is."
Gutierrez believes that alumni have a definite role to play in the
recruitment process, especially at out-of-town locations.
"Just by standing at the table, I was able to help drive more
traffic and invite people that my children or I know to come and
learn about St.
John's," she noted. "Alumni involvement is especially
important in cities outside the New York metropolitan area.
Unfortunately, the farther away from St. John's you go, fewer
people know about it, and the alumni need to step up and help carry
the torch. The recruiting staff does a great job at these
college fairs, but I think it makes a huge difference if someone
from the local community that's also affiliated with the University
is there to help out."
Continuing her dedicated participation as an active alumna,
Gutierrez has already made plans to serve as a speaker at an
upcoming reception for accepted students from the Miami area next
"Taking part in this college fair was a great experience for me,"
she said. "It gave me a chance to share all of the wonderful
things that are happening at St. John's. I'm really looking
forward to participating in other shows and similar University