In September, Jim Bender F’00 became Northwestern’s new director of Alumni & Parent Relations. Bender attended Northwestern in the early 1980s, then returned after several years in law enforcement and graduated in 2000 through the FOCUS program. He has also served as president of the Alumni Council. We had the opportunity to catch up with him to talk about his new role.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I am most excited about interacting with our alums, parents and friends. The opportunity to serve those associated with Northwestern is hard to consider a job—it is like visiting with family!
What are your initial goals?
To connect with as many alumni as possible. I want to assist alumni in their current vocational callings and provide leadership development opportunities. I also want to engage more with our current student body so they know us as their friends/family prior to graduation. I want to work with the
Parent Council to use their unique viewpoint to provide valuable input regarding their students’ experience.
What book are you reading right now?
I just finished Bill Hybels’ latest book The Power of a Whisper—one of the most amazing books I have ever read! I am in the middle of Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas—a book we send to alums who notify us that they are getting married.
When you’re not hanging out with alumni and parents, what do you enjoy doing most?
I like bike riding around the lakes, traveling to visit our married children, attending Minnesota Twins games and college sporting events. I also like to golf although it is my most frustrating hobby—through which I have not learned patience but rather gardening, due to the divots I dig with my clubs!