Alumni Relations Director Shana Circe steps down, search underway

Shana Circe ’02 (Art Education) ’08g (Visual Arts Education) has announced her intention to step down as director of alumni relations at the College, effective April 2021.

“New Paltz has been a huge part of my life for 22 years,” said Circe. “I am both excited for the next chapter and sad to say goodbye to the College. I wish I could say that I did all that can be done for Alumni Relations, but that is a task that will endure. I will be eager to connect as an alum, a volunteer and a supporter to give back to my alma mater that has given me so much.”

In her current role, Circe supports a community of more than 65,000 alumni and advances their ongoing relationship with the College and campus. A national search to appoint a new director for alumni relations is underway.

As director, Circe was charged with strategically engaging alumni, securing commitments from alumni to provide professional expertise and volunteer service to the campus and its students. She planned and executed a comprehensive program of activities that established and maintained relationships with alumni and the College.

Circe was instrumental in planning the annual Alumni Reunion celebration, implementing special events to recognize outstanding alumni and coordinating the alumni network that spans the United States and abroad. She created a robust calendar of events and opportunities for alumni to find their own way to connect. From developing and reimagining large-scale programs like Alumni Reunion, 100 Days to commencement and 40 Under Forty, to smaller regional events around the country.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Circe’s role included a pivot to virtual engagement and event planning that required a deep understanding of the importance of relationship building under times of duress and anxiety.

Prior to this role, Circe served the College in the Office of Undergraduate Admission for 12 years as director of on-campus recruitment and director of the Welcome Center. In these roles, she implemented several new programs and managed a campus visit volume of more than 20,000 visitors each year while cultivating a staff of 22 highly trained student ambassadors and 10 Welcome Center staff members as top campus leaders.

In 2013, she was invited to serve on the Alumni Task Force, focused on creating a strategic plan for the Office of Alumni Relations, which ultimately resulted in the founding of the official SUNY New Paltz Alumni Association and the Alumni Council. She was then appointed to serve as a member of the Council from its inception to present.

“I am both extraordinarily excited for Shana’s new adventure and sad that we are losing her institutional knowledge, content expertise and passion for our alumni,” said Erica Marks, vice president for development and alumni relations, and executive director for the SUNY New Paltz Foundation. “Her understanding of customer relations excellence, deep knowledge of institutional programs and policies, and ability to cultivate and motivate a staff, made her an excellent fit for this position.”

At the end of her term, Circe plans to focus on the skills she obtained as a student at SUNY New Paltz and return to a career in visual arts and education. She resides in Kingston, New York, with her husband Michael Circe ’05 (Childhood Education; History) ’09g (Childhood Education) and their two sons.

“New Paltz has given me so many tools and opportunities to learn, from my time as an undergraduate and graduate student to my role as a professional,” said Circe. “I’m excited to embark on this new journey and put all that I have learned to use in a new way, to build a business and bring the empowerment and joy of art to others.”