KENNESAW, Ga. | Oct 11, 2023
When KSU alumnus Grey Drummonds wanted to meet other recent graduates, he made it a do-it-yourself project that now connects more than 2,000 Forever Owls.
Oct. 6, 2022, marked the launch event for the KSU Alumni Young Professionals. For Drummonds, a ’21 graduate of the Michael J. Coles College of Business, it was a night he will never forget.
“It was wild,” Drummonds said. “We had close to 100 people attend our launch event, all of whom were so excited to be part of the program.”
The KSU Alumni Young Professionals was born of Drummonds’ vision to create a community where KSU alumni could network with fellow Owls and find ways to give back to the University. After creating a group on LinkedIn, Drummonds began messaging people based on their alumni status, sharing information about the group and encouraging them to join.
“It was a grassroots effort to connect people,” he explained. “In late December 2021, I held the first meetup with three other alumni at a local brewery. As more people started to join our LinkedIn group and attend our meetups, I began to see a future for the program – I just never envisioned it would become what it is today.”
When the Kennesaw State University Alumni Association officially chartered the KSU Young Professionals in July 2022, it became its fifth affinity group. Associate Director of Alumni and Constituent Engagement, Savannah Lockman, played an instrumental role in working with Drummonds, who served as the affinity group’s inaugural president, to outline the vision for the organization moving forward.
“Grey was very passionate about connecting recent graduates to each other, many of whom missed out on a traditional graduation and networking experience because of COVID-19,” said Lockman. “He didn’t create this group for himself—he was thinking of others and how he could help them while giving back to the University.”
Intended to connect graduates of the last decade, the KSU Young Professionals offers networking events, opportunities to give back to the campus community, and resources to help alumni navigate their life as new professionals.
Drummonds noted that during his time at KSU, the University became more than the place where he was pursuing a degree – it became his home. As such, he wants the KSU Young Professionals to be an extension of the community students find on campus.
As the group grows, he envisions it becoming a network where alumni can make new friends outside of work and find employment opportunities through connecting with other KSU alumni.
“I want KSU Owls to know they’re not alone when they graduate, that regardless of where they are across the country, there’s a place for them to connect,” he said.
When asked why all alumni should consider joining the KSU Young Professionals, Drummonds pointed to the various activities recent alumni can participate in. For example, the KSU Young Alumni host monthly networking events, including Scrappy Hours and coffee house networking sessions, where KSU alumni throughout metro Atlanta can meet other Owls.
“We’re also continually encouraging our Young Professionals to get involved in the campus community,” Lockman said. “From Homecoming to Graduating Students Spirit Week and Forever Owl Fest, there are numerous ways for our young alumni to give back to the University throughout the year.”
Nearly a year after becoming an affinity group for the KSU Alumni Association, the Kennesaw State Young Professionals LinkedIn group has more than 2,400 members, with more alumni joining daily.
“I’ve never seen a group of recent graduates so excited about building something from scratch,” said Lockman. “They saw a need and filled it while tweaking their mission and vision, so they align with those of the KSU Alumni Association.”
In the coming years, Drummonds aspires for the group to become embedded in the culture of KSU, introduced as a resource to new students the moment they step foot onto campus and throughout their time at the University.
“I can’t wait to be five to 10 years down the road and look back knowing I was part of the foundation of this group,” said Drummonds. “There’s unlimited potential in the number of doors that can be opened to KSU alumni through this network.”
– By Elyssa Reed
– Photo by Matt Yung
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.