Kim Merritt came to IUPUI as a first-generation college student and chose a major in psychology. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with a degree in psychology, but she knew the subject fascinated her; she liked building relationships and figuring things out. In her senior year, she knew that the campus felt like home, and she wanted to stay.
“The goal was always to work at IUPUI,” Kim said. And she has used that psychology degree almost every day. “It just gave me a good strong foundation for working with and understanding different personalities, different perspectives, and different backgrounds.”
When she graduated from the School of Science, she began working in the IU Center on Philanthropy. She had earned a vocational certificate in high school, and she was very comfortable with the administrative work. When a position opened in the IUPUI Office of Alumni Relations, it felt like the right move. That was 25 years ago.
“I really wanted to stay with the university,” Kim said. “There was just something that was so appealing to me to stay a part of the community.”
Kim’s hard work and dedication to the campus was recognized, and in April 2021, she was named the managing director of alumni relations. She is working with leadership and constituents around campus to unify the campus for alumni. Kim said that alumni programming has primarily been coordinated at the school level, and she hopes to unify those efforts across campus to provide a consistent experience for all IUPUI alumni and build relationships that keep alumni actively engaged.
“We are working hand-in-hand with our campus partners to help elevate the programs that they are already doing,” Kim said. “We are uniquely positioned to support campus priorities and create meaningful experiences with our campus partners.”
The enduring friendships with alumni and campus partners, the sense of community, and the campus itself are all at the heart of why Kim truly loves working at IUPUI.
“You get the chance to see people grow,” Kim said. “Our office had a student worker with us beginning in her freshman year till she graduated with a master’s degree. We will be friends forever now, and you can’t put a price on that.”
As Kim leads the IUPUI Office of Alumni Relations into the future, she urges her fellow alumni to watch for updates and new programming that will allow alumni to see themselves more clearly in the community. The office is aligned with and focused on the IU Alumni Association’s priorities of cultivating belonging, deepening alumni loyalty, and strengthening alumni relations across the university.
“Being able to have this opportunity where we can really make a difference, both internally and externally, it’s just an exciting time,” Kim said. “I’m humbled to be asked to help lead that mission.”