Jim Bender named Director of Alumni & Parent Relations
Sept. 20—Northwestern is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Bender as the new Director of Alumni & Parent Relations. He attended Northwestern in the early 1980s as a traditional undergraduate student then returned, after several years in law enforcement, and graduated in 2000 through the FOCUS program.
Bender has served as both a member and president of the Alumni Council and is ready to take our alumni and parent programs to the next level. We had the opportunity to catch up with Jim to talk about his new role.
Northwestern: What are you most excited about in your new role? Jim Bender: I am most excited about interacting with our alums, parents and friends. The opportunity to interact with those associated with Northwestern is hard to consider a job—it is like visiting with family!
Northwestern: What are your initial goals? Jim Bender: Although it is impossible to connect with each and every alum, my goal is to connect with as many of them as possible. I want to know what we can do to assist alums in their current vocational callings and provide high quality leadership development opportunities for them. I also want to engage more with our current student body so they know us as their friends/family prior to graduation—to be significant in their current college experience. Finally, I want to work with the Parent Council to use their unique viewpoint to provide valuable input regarding their students’ experience. I firmly believe that parents are as much a part of our NWC community as their students.
Northwestern: You used to work in business...why the switch to higher education? Jim Bender: NWC was significant in my life—I have maintained a very strong connection with NWC. Over the past six to seven months, God has been preparing my heart to leave the world of business and to enter a more full-time ministry role. Being a part of helping to train and prepare our Christian leaders of the future excites me. I pray the God will give me opportunities to come alongside students, alums and parents in need of encouragement.
Northwestern: What book are you reading right now? Jim Bender: I just finished Bill Hybel's 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 our alums who notify us that they are getting married!
Northwestern: Besides hanging with alumni and parents, what do you enjoy doing most? Jim Bender: I like bike riding around the lakes, traveling to visit our married children, attending Minnesota Twins games and attending college sporting events. I also like to golf although it’s my most frustrating hobby—through which I have NOT learned patience but rather gardening, due to the divots I dig with my clubs!
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