Friendly faces in dusty places

June 8, 2007

Name: Sue Curley

Age: 58

Job: Head of alumni relations, Brunel University.

Education and training: I was a bit of a rebel at school, so I failed academically. But when my children were smal... I took a few A levels. During these I did some unfunded research on three-generation families co-residing and later went on to promote the work of carers and the need for carers' counselling. I hope to get my degree when I retire. I've always worked with the general public, first in retail administration and then as a hospital A&E receptionist, which prepares you for anything. I came to Brunel as an order clerk in the chemistry department but then helped set up the Brunel Business Partnership. By the mid-1990s I was covering the business partnership, business development and alumni (a few thousand in those days). By 1995 the alumni role was full-time as the numbers had increased to 14,000. Today we have 67,000. I get professional alumni relations training from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Working hours: I don't think in hours. We held an alumni reunion on Saturday and I attend evening events.

Number of students/alumni: We have 67,000 alumni on our database, which will increase by another 3,500 this summer.

Biggest challenge this year: A building site outside our office window.

How you solved it: Having a good sense of humour and dusting our desks a great deal.

Worst moment in university life: Reporting in the alumni magazine that someone was dead and they weren't (they died six months later).

What our office is like: Very friendly. There are eight of us - alumni, development and fund-raising - in an open-plan office.

What university facilities do you use? The gym, the indoor athletics track, the art gallery and the library.

Do you socialise with people at the university? All the time. I'm also Brunel's Anglican lay chaplain, so I get to meet up with people from all areas of Brunel.

Do you interact much with other parts of the university? I work closely with our hospitality and conference departments to organise reunions and events, our publications department, print room and posties for our magazine mailing, the careers service, registry and conferments for students' data and degree ceremonies. I get to meet some wonderful people.

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