The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham alumna helps found "Save Chatham"

In 2008, Alexa New graduated from Chatham University. During her stay at Chatham, New was extremely involved, and even served as the student body president for two years. During her two years as president, Chatham chose to make a change that would affect past, present, and future students.

When New was applying to colleges, she applied to Chatham College for Women; however, it was during her term as president that the transfer from a women’s college to the term university occurred.

The possibility of change meant the possibility of losing Chatham’s identity as a women’s college, which was viewed as unacceptable by the student government and student body.  New regarded her position as a student elected official, stating she felt they owed it to all generations of Chatham women to question the transfer.

New commented, “It was an exciting time to be a student, and we were very protective of the undergraduate college.”

Photo Courtesy of Alex New
Photo Courtesy of Alex New

The transition included small changes that could have had a large impact.  New and the other students serving on student government fought to maintain the school’s color as purple, not green, and made sure you could still find, “Chatham Women’s College” clothes in the bookstore. This is what New and her fellow students fought for, plus much more.

However, New looked back to graduation, explaining, “My diploma says I graduated from Chatham University, when I graduated from Chatham Women’s College.” New and other students during the time worked extremely hard to protect Chatham’s image, identity, heritage, and future as they continued to ask questions and think critically about the transition. She said, even back then, once the transition was made, the, “writing was on the wall,” for Chatham University.

She remembered, “We saw that in a few years there would be an announcement of coed plans.  We did everything we could to protect that!”

Just as the students felt, Chatham is now looking at the idea of a coed university, and New, among other alumnae and supporters, are working vigorously to create resources on women’s education and the effects of the transition.

Beside her extensive current and past activism on Chatham’s campus, New has other fond memories of Chatham, as well. She served as an R.A. for three years, and spent a Maymester in Russia in a hospital. Also, New worked a different internship every summer, just to ensure her time at Chatham was well spent.

When she spoke of her favorite moments on-campus, they all revolved around the school’s traditions. Her favorite memories were of Battle of the Classes and Airband. The traditions were part of the identity New lead the student body government in protecting only a few years ago.

Looking back on her years at the school, New stated, “Chatham gave me the opportunity to really flex my leadership and flex my voice.”

Now, New is newly 28 years old, and has a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She is working as the vice-president of advancement of a large health and human services organization in Cleveland, Ohio.

Her job entails managing fundraising, marketing, working with individual and corporate donors, and managing government and foundation grants. While she does not utilize her Biology degree directly, New said it is her scientific background that helps her get through the day: “One of the things the degree has done is identify an end goal.  In sciences, you figure out what the problem is.  It helps you dive in, and ask the right questions!  It helps you determine what steps you need to take. It helps me immensely in my analytical skills and being strategic.”

It wasn’t until her senior year that New realized she wanted to work in a non-profit sector, and attributes part of her success to her advisor during her time at Chatham. Now that New has made it into her non-profit sector, she has a side project that is relevant to all current and previous Chatham students.

New and eight other alumni are responsible for the “Save Chatham” movement which includes students, alumnae, a Facebook, Twitter, a blog, and a whole lot of heart. All the administrators have outside commitments, but New and her fellow alumnae are still working hard to protect and serve the past, present and future generations of Chatham.

After walking down memory lane, New provided some advice for all students attending Chatham. She began by explaining the need to take advantage of the all the on-campus opportunities. She explained, “Chatham is the time you can find your voice and hone in on your leadership skills that will continue to serve you beyond your years at Chatham University.”

Also, New commented on the amazing network of sisters each graduate has in the alumnae association. She urges students to take advantage of the sisterhood at hand, and contact alumnae in the field you want to work. Lastly, New repeatedly stated the importance to question everything and think critically.


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