In the Loop
Alumnus in chief
Jim Mickey ’78, who spent 30 years in the telecommunications industry, was named associate vice president for alumni programs and marketing in July. He supervises alumni programs, marketing and creative services for the university.
Mickey joined UTSA after working for AT&T (Southwestern Bell), followed by positions at Sprint and then at Pocket Communications, where he was chief operating officer.
“I am thrilled to join UTSA at this time to help our team shape the future for Alumni Programs,” Mickey said. “It is an honor to be selected by my alma mater. I look forward to the challenge and to using the business experience I’ve gained over my career. It feels great to be back at UTSA.”
He said his immediate priority is “growing alumni membership, as well as increasing participation and involvement in UTSA by more of our alums.”
A strong alumni association, he added, is necessary to achieve Tier One status.
With 81,000 alumni and only 4,000 association members, there’s a lot of room for growth.
“We need to better understand the needs and value that our alums are looking for so we can meet or exceed those needs,” Mickey said. “By doing this we can grow and retain membership. We need to better understand through what medium they want to be communicated with and with what frequency. We’ll need to do some research, talk to as many alums as possible and do some quick e-mail surveys to best determine where we are meeting expectations and [where we are] falling short.”
A new initiative targeted May graduates. “Each graduate who joins the association will be entered for a chance to win an iPad,” Mickey said. “A membership costs $40 annually, but new grads can become members for $10 and second-year grads are $20 annually. We are sensitive to the finances of a new grad.”
Mickey has been involved with the UTSA Alumni Association, first as a volunteer and, since 1991, as a board member. In 2007, he was honored as Alumnus of the Year.
In spite of a busy family and professional life, Mickey has always found time for UTSA, and some say he virtually invented Roadrunner Pride. When he was a student in the late 1970s, the Student Government Association held an election to name the university mascot. The two leading choices were the Armadillos and the Conquistadors. With approximately 10 days to go until the election, Mickey and a group of friends formed a campaign to get students behind the idea that UTSA’s mascot should be the Roadrunner.
According to Mickey, Ron Hare, one of the leaders of the group, thought it would be a great idea to use the Warner Bros.’ roadrunner cartoon character. Perhaps naively, they wrote a letter to Warner Bros. to ask for permission to use the cartoon image—and their bold move paid off when permission was granted. The rest is history.
Now, Mickey will devote his energy to strengthening UTSA’s alumni base.
“The more alums we can engage in becoming members of the alumni association, the stronger our voice will be: on campus, in the city and at the state capitol,” he said.
“By having more alums involved in the association I believe we can help connect them to UTSA for the rest of their lives.”
—Joe Michael Feist and
Marianne McBride Lewis