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Bradley Hilltopics

Summer 2008 • Volume 14, Issue 3  


The Bradley Fund

Calling all alums: The Bradley Fund

by Katie Hamill ’08

DEREK HARTMANN ’09, shown above, has spent a lot of time on the phone over the course of the past few years. It’s not because the junior civil engineering major has that much extra time on his hands, though he does enjoy talking on the phone. Hartmann is an intern with the Bradley Fund, a team of students who call alumni with campus news and ways in which alumni can contribute to the University.

“You want to get to know them,” Hartmann says of his calls to alumni. “That’s why it is so important to call rather than just send something in the mail. They can get feedback on what has changed and talk about memories they recall from their years at Bradley.”

Although Hartmann concedes the difficulty of getting people to open up, he’s no stranger to long phone calls. His longest lasted 109 minutes and 16 seconds. While a donation did not result from the call, Hartmann remembers it as one of his most memorable calls for the stories shared by the alum. “The main reason for the call is to get financial support for the University, but that’s only one reason. It’s also neat for the students to experience what alumni have to offer.”

“The Bradley Fund is vital to the institution,” adds SHELLY SMITH, MA ’93, senior director of the Bradley Fund. “The connections our student callers make with alumni are so important. We are often their only “live” link with campus after they graduate. They appreciate the updates. We also give them the opportunity to support their alma mater. The student callers are trained to ask alumni to make an annual gift to BU and help alumni understand just how important their annual gift is to us.”

Calling alumni has proven to be not only an enlightening campus job, but also a source of practical career skills for NICOLE MLADIC ’01. She vividly remembers her four years at the Bradley Fund, where “horns were honking, prize wheels were turning, and the walls were always decorated with bright colors.” While the cold calls were not always easy to make, and some nights consisted of listening to a lot of dial tones, she says she loved her time calling and considers it an invaluable experience.

Now a public relations manager in Chicago, Mladic often finds herself in the position of making cold calls to reporters with story ideas. She says that while many young PR professionals struggle with this, she found it an easy transition to make. “My time at the Bradley Fund taught me to keep a positive attitude at all times, to have a thick skin and to never take rejection personally.” Of course, Mladic says, she also still tells her junior staffers to “put the smile in the dial!”

Mladic was interviewed by Katie Couric on CBS Evening News in April about her budgeting blog for young, working women. View the video. Go>

Read more about the Bradley Fund. Go>