Pioneers supporting Pioneers: The Distance Education Alumni Board leaves impact on alumni, students

Ullsvik Hall

Since its creation in 2006, the Distance Education Alumni Board has been committed to supporting alumni and students of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s distance education programs. The board represents the Distance Learning Alumni Chapter of the university’s Alumni Association, whose mission is to foster connections between the university and alumni. They work closely together to fulfill that mission, however, their overall impact spreads much farther than that. 

The Distance Education Alumni Board was formed in 2006 based on a recommendation from the distance education programs’ Student Advisory Board. As the population of alumni of distance programs grew, the SAB saw a need to maintain connections with graduates. Because their alumni population was unique and included a large number of non-traditional students who were spread across the nation, forming and sustaining connections with the university was especially important. This, however, provided a challenge — how to create a relationship between the university and alumni who had never visited the campus. 

The Alumni Board began their work by brainstorming methods of communication and networking that would engage the distance education alumni, as well as ideas for online events. As technology improved and their alumni population grew, the board expanded its work to support current students and promote the university’s programs. Some of the board’s main initiatives include:

  • Distance Education Alumni Board Scholarship – Created by the board in 2016 to help provide financial support to distance education students as they complete their degree, it provides two $300 scholarships each year.
  • Student-Alumni Mentor Program – The mentoring program was created to help build relationships between alumni and students to provide support, connection and a link between academic study and the realities of the workplace. 
  • Virtual Distance Dash 5k Run/Walk – This annual virtual event occurs every fall and allows alumni, students and friends to connect with each other and the university from anywhere. It supports the Distance Education Alumni Board Scholarship fund. 

Additionally, the Alumni Board works with university staff to create engagement and networking opportunities through virtual meet-ups and outreach, communications and social media. The board also helps plan graduation receptions, promotes distance programs and certificates, promotes university programs and events, and participates in National Distance Learning Week celebrations.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Distance Education Alumni Board or are interested in becoming a member, email