Lifelong Monarchs: Alumni Stay Connected in Many Ways

Whether you are longstanding alumni with proven success, alumni fresh out of graduation, or somewhere in between, there is no shortage of ways to embrace Methodist University and stay connected.

Lions are one of the most aggressive and ferocious creatures in the animal kingdom. Yet, they are considered one of the most sociable predators – working with their group of up to a few dozen other lions, known as a “pride,” to keep their status as “kings of the jungle.”

As lifelong Monarchs, it’s only fitting the Methodist University community takes a similar approach of engaging, enriching, and empowering the lives of past, present, and future MU students – a task that cannot be completed without staying connected and being a part of the pride.

Whether you are longstanding alumni with proven success, alumni fresh out of graduation, or somewhere in between, there is no shortage of ways to embrace Methodist University and stay connected. From continuing your education to supporting monetarily to becoming an active part of the community, we can help you find your purpose at MU. All you need to do is take the time to review your options to get started.

Continuing Your Education

Part of Methodist University’s mission is to provide opportunities “for a continuing thirst of knowledge.”

One way for alumni to quench that thirst is by continuing their education through Methodist University’s online programs. Abigail Avalos ’20, ’22M is a perfect example.

Like many alumni, Avalos started her MU career on campus – eventually earning her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration in December 2020. As a wife and mother of two children, while also working full time, Avalos originally decided not to pursue a graduate degree.

But many of her fellow Methodist University alumni who did join MU’s online Master of Health Care Administration program immediately, spoke glowingly of the online experience. Avalos quickly pivoted and started the program a few months later, setting the table for her to receive her master’s degree in Health Care Administration in December 2022 – becoming part of the first class of fully online graduates in MU history.

“Pursuing my master’s degree helped me realize that one person can make a huge difference in health care. The program was difficult, but I truly enjoyed it and it has set me up to continue my education if I want to,” said Avalos. “If you want to grow professionally and personally, I would tell any MU alumni thinking of continuing their education online to go for it. It may seem different and daunting, but it’s not, and MU’s faculty will make sure you’re successful.”

Avalos may not stop there as she is considering pursuing a doctorate degree in health care in the near future. While there may be more options these days, the move to continue education at MU is nothing new, as evidenced by Jimmy Crayton ’01, ’16M.

After earning his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Sociology in 2001, Crayton worked in law enforcement for five years before moving to the District Attorney’s Office in the 11th Prosecutorial District (N.C.) as an investigator for 11 years.

Crayton was ready to take on a role as a police chief, so he decided to return to Methodist University for its hybrid Master of Justice Administration program.

“It was the most perfectly designed program like it in North Carolina,” he added. “Even though most of it was done online, there was a justice academy once a month. The networking and information sharing was absolutely crucial. It was better than any other program in the state.”

Shortly after earning his master’s degree in 2016, Crayton became the police chief in Wallace, North Carolina and has successfully served his community ever since.

If you are ready to continue your education today, MU offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Most programs are available on campus with a growing list also becoming available online – a perfect option for anyone with a full-time job, in the military, or ready to finally earn that elusive but valuable degree.

Supporting MU

The success of Methodist University would not be possible without the support of our alumni. A simple act of giving can make an everlasting difference within the MU community.

An endowed scholarship donor meets a scholarship recipient.There are many ways to directly give to MU including cash gifts, credit card gifts, pledges, matching gifts, estate gifts, gifts of stock, bonds, and other securities. Methodist University’s secure giving site provides a safe and easy place to donate today. If online giving is not your cup of tea, alumni can also give in person, over the phone or through the mail.

However, there are other options for giving like planned giving – a donor’s intention to contribute a major gift to MU beyond their lifetime. Not only does it preserve a donor’s legacy, but it can often provide valuable tax benefits.

A few years ago, married alumni couple David ’65 and Wanda ’66 Herring – who received their bachelor’s degrees in business and English, respectively – decided they would participate in MU’s planned giving campaign. Their $200,000-plus gift funded the beautiful, multi-colored stained glass window that can be seen in Matthew Ministry Center today (see picture below).

“We evaluated our lives and realized all of the good fortune we’ve had,” said David Herring. “We have to credit the education we received from Methodist University, along with the experiences and tools it provided to shaping our lives. We’ve been blessed and we praise God for that.”

Like the Herrings, making a planned gift part of your estate plan is an excellent way to provide for your family while also supporting a scholarship, program or sport at Methodist University. You can create a legacy that will impact future Monarchs in the years ahead.

Volunteer for MU

You may be asking: How may I volunteer my time to Methodist University? Fortunately, the University also has a variety of opportunities available for alumni.

People attend a homecoming gameThe MU Board of Trustees oversees policy making and ensuring sound resource management of MU. Currently, 10 out of the 29 Board of Trustees members are proud Methodist University alumni.

Perhaps you are more passionate about alumni relations. Then, the Methodist University Alumni Association (MUAA) may be for you. As an MU graduate, you are automatically enrolled as a member of the MUAA, which meets quarterly to identify and implement ways to keep alumni informed and involved.

One of multiple alumni chapters in the MUAA, the Black Alumni Chapter (BAC), started in 2022 and welcomes black alumni to a number of gatherings and events throughout the year. It has even set up an endowed scholarship to support students of color.

Another way to volunteer is the Founders Council. This group of individuals who believe in MU’s mission exists to aid, foster, and promote the growth, progress, and general welfare of the University, Cumberland County, and North Carolina. At the moment, seven members of the Council are MU alumni.

Supporting Student Scholarships

A powerful way to support MU is by funding student scholarships.

While there are more than 30 scholarships funded by MU alumni, the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund is especially known for making a powerful difference year in and year out. Set up by the Methodist University Alumni Association, the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund designates gifts to current, full-time students who have completed the FAFSA. The best part: At an annual luncheon, you get to meet the scholarship recipients who like to personally thank you.

For alumni seeking a different way to help current students, you should consider a mighty recruiting tool: the Greatest Gift Scholarship program. As an MU alumni, you have the power to give out one Greatest Gift Scholarship each year to a full-time, incoming freshman or transfer student. If the student’s application reflects that you actively recruited the student to attend MU, the scholarship is worth $500 per year and is fully renewable if the student maintains eligibility.

Career Connection

Graduate and President WeardenAs you drive across the greater Fayetteville area, it does not take long before you start noticing businesses owned by Methodist University alumni. With that growing network of MU alumni, an ever-increasing number of career possibilities comes with it. In fact, many of our alumni business owners have hired fellow MU alumni.

Whether you are alumni looking to hire or an alumna hoping to be hired, Methodist University can help with the process. Alumni employers have the ability to create an employer account on Handshake – an online employment recruiting tool – and request to connect with MU. On the other side of the coin, alumni job seekers can also create an account on Handshake, where they also have the ability to connect with MU alumni-employers.

Better yet, Methodist University’s Career Advising & Employer Engagement Office is available every week (tvann@ to assist you through the entire process.

We Can’t Wait to See You!

It’s that glorious time of the year when you can reconnect with your Methodist University friends and reminisce about the “good ol’ days”: Homecoming Weekend.

On top of the always-anticipated intercollegiate athletic events, there’s a bevy of other alumni-focused events including: the alumni awards ceremony, alumni tailgate, campus tour, coffee social, alumni basketball games, and so much more.

“It’s always good to see the progress that’s being made,” said Candis Milligan ’08, who attended MU’s 2022 Homecoming. “Every time I step foot on campus, it seems like there’s something new. [My husband and I] love coming back for Homecoming.”

In fact, be sure to save the date for this year’s MU Homecoming: October 27-29, 2023.

There are plenty of other events that alumni are always welcome to: MU’s Military Appreciation football game, event, theatre and musical performances, and many more events. We also have regional alumni events that might be near where you live. Be sure to read the Alumni Newsletter for the latest detail.

As it’s certainly understandable not all alumni are able to attend in-person events, it’s easy to stay engaged on MU’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube). They are just some of the many different ways MU alumni continue to stay connected.

How Will You Stay Connected?

As Methodist University continues its positive trajectory, now is the perfect time for you to jump on board and make a difference. To stay or get connected with any of the mentioned opportunities (or others), visit Stay Connected.

This story was published in the Spring 2023 edition of “MU Today Magazine”. The magazine is available digitally on the MU website.