Home Alumni Staying Connected, Pima Medical Institute’s Alumni Program
Staying Connected, Pima Medical Institute’s Alumni Program

Staying Connected, Pima Medical Institute’s Alumni Program


By June Gudeman, Alumni Coordinator, Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical Institute has been educating future healthcare professionals since it was founded in Tucson, Arizona in 1972. Now, there are more than 135,000 graduates, 18 ground campuses across the Western United States and a robust online program, offering associate and bachelor’s degree programs.

So how does a medical career college with thousands of graduates, manage to stay in such close contact with so many?

Rather than requiring graduates to sign up or pay dues to be part of an Alumni Association, we simply inform them they are part of our Alumni Community by virtue of graduating from our institution.

We celebrate, congratulate and remind them of the honor of being part of Pima Medical Institute’s Alumni Community – now more than 135,000 strong! We believe one of the most effective ways to get your alumni to participate is to set the expectation while they are still your students. Let them know the desire to continue a relationship when they graduate and that they will always be part of our Alumni Community. This is certainly much better than making them believe they ‘owe’ you something. We also want them to know that they are an extension of our family. It is a sense of family and commitment that has been instilled in all of us by the Luebke family, who founded this college.

They call it Alumni Relations for a reason. It’s simple. Alumni programs are all about relationships. Building relationships promotes alumni engagement and this engagement has value beyond the ROI of walking, breathing advertisements – although this is significant. Engaged alumni are also likely to become advisory board members, guest classroom speakers, mock interview employers, future faculty, student mentors, provide connections for student externships and, ultimately, employment.

Our alumni program has grown exponentially over the years, and is anchored by a website that allows students to not only handle important items like requesting transcripts or receiving employment assistance, it is also a forum to share alumni success stories. There really is no better advertisement for a school than graduates who become successful professionals. The success of our graduates is a direct reflection of our institution’s success.

When a graduate logs in, they can easily click through to alumni services where they can learn more about continuing education, loan management and frequently asked questions. Career Services is also a very important part of our website. Graduates can join the LinkedIn Alumni group, find important contacts at the campus and look for potential job opportunities. We direct employers to the site to share job opportunities which are directed to Career Services advisors who in turn, personally contact our graduates who are looking for positions.

Pima Medical Institute’s Houston campus
Hundreds of graduates converge for alumni event at Pima Medical Institute’s Houston campus.

The alumni website is also a place for our alumni to RSVP for upcoming alumni events at their campus. We also share alumni event photos for our graduates to view and download. One of the most beneficial parts of the site for us is when students login to their account and are able to see the personal contact information we have for them on record. We encourage them to update both personal and employment information before moving on to other areas of the site. This provides us with current information and allows all of our departments to be able to stay in touch with our graduates.

More than 15 years ago when then CEO of Pima Medical Institute, Dick Luebke Jr. hired me to launch an alumni program, he tasked me with finding, gathering, and sharing our alumni’s success stories. That was it! This has continued to be a significant part of my job. These success stories give our former students an opportunity to let us know what they are doing now. They are inspirational, to say the least. We shared our alumni success stories in emails, on Alumni Success Story posters, on our websites and we assembled them into books to celebrate recent (35th, 40th, 45th) anniversaries. Those books are shared, not only with prospective students and high school counselors, but with employers and lawmakers whose decisions regarding legislation affect all of our career colleges. Thriving alumni successfully working in their professions are proof that your institution delivers. Our Alumni Success Story posters are displayed in the hallways of all of our campuses, our graduates display their posters at home or in their offices, and many of their employers are proud to display them. What a great way to show the work we are doing in educating our future healthcare heroes!

Recently, we have added an opportunity for our admissions representatives to search for and choose specific success stories to share with their potential students. Enabling a future student to see a success story that may be similar to their situation, allows them to visualize themselves being a success. It is a powerful experience when a student says, “I want to be on one of those posters one day.” Many of them carry through on that goal. In addition, many of our students with these Success Stories come back to our Alumni Events to speak and inspire those in the crowd.

Jeremy Feldman
Jeremy Feldman, a two-time graduate from PMI from the BSRT and Respiratory Therapy program, is now on the frontlines in New York. 

Each year we host between five to eight Alumni Events at our campuses. These events provide an opportunity for proud faculty, students and staff to join graduates and their families. It is a remarkable sight when recent graduates mingle with some who attended school before they were even born. At these events, we also find many generations of Pima Medical students. We often see that when one family member has success in a program, it becomes a true family affair and we see graduates who are mothers and daughters and fathers and sons. These events are carefully planned and created to remind graduates that we at Pima Medical Institute are interested in continuing a relationship with them long after they graduate.

Earlier this year, more than 200 graduates of Pima Medical Institute’s Houston Campus along with their family and friends attended an Alumni Appreciation Event. This event was the second alumni event since the school opened in 2009. Since that time, more than five thousand students have entered the greater Houston area community of allied health professionals.

In late 2019, hundreds gathered at the Pima Medical Institute Albuquerque campus to celebrate graduates from both the Albuquerque and Albuquerque West-Rio Rancho locations. Serving the Albuquerque community since 1985, the two campuses celebrated quite a milestone of serving more than 13,000 graduates.

While many of these are large all program events, we have also created an opportunity for program-specific alumni groups to gather and celebrate their successes as well. In fact, we recently hosted an event for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at our Mesa campus. We had over 50 graduates representing 10 years of offering the OTA program.

Pima Medical Institute Alumni StoryWe love welcoming students back to campus, and we recognize that our alumni program is a wonderful opportunity to share continuing education opportunities with our graduates. For those looking to continue their professional development, these Alumni Events provide an opportunity for our online division to share associate and bachelor’s degree programs available to our graduates, and potential scholarship opportunities. Whether students continue with Pima Medical, or choose another school to fulfill their ultimate career goals, we take this opportunity to encourage them to be lifelong learners.

Successful Alumni Community engagement starts long before graduation. As students enroll with Pima Medical, we work closely to show them the commitment we have to them. From enrolling to graduating, and beyond, we are by their side for whatever help they need. We believe in sharing with current students the benefits of alumni relationships.

For other schools looking to begin a program, I would say start small, and start with a focused mission. Sometimes the most difficult part of creating something new is just getting started. We began by gathering Alumni Success Stories and sharing them. Start with a small website that is easy to maneuver. It has taken us years to get to the robust website we have now. In addition, more than anything I would say stay in touch with students, not just when it involves something that you need as the college or university. Students want to know you care and want to know that you are there for them, whenever they need you.

Now more than ever our alumni outreach remains a strong source of comfort and support for our graduates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized many of our former students are now the frontline healthcare professionals. We recently reached out to them to let them know we were thinking about them and received an overwhelming response. Some graduates shared heart-wrenching experiences they are currently dealing with, while others shared with us how Pima Medical prepared them to be able to survive in an environment like this.

For example, one of our Medical Assistant graduates told us, “I am on the front line, and I thank Pima Medical for bringing me here. You prepared me for the battlefield.”

These testimonials are shared throughout our organization internally and externally through social media and our blog. We want our graduates to know how proud we are of their hard work. I think it is also a great way to share with faculty and staff that we all make a difference in this crazy time we are living in.

Some of the best businesses are those who provide after the sale service. That’s what we’re doing by providing an alumni program at our schools. We love those businesses that take care of us long after we have made our purchase. We are offering after the sale service by maintaining relationships with our students and caring for them long after graduation. We are continuing our relationship with our graduates by paying attention to their needs, offering services, providing a place for feedback or questions, offering gestures of appreciation and, in the process, we are building loyalty and pride. As our Chairman of the Board, Dick Luebke Jr. says, “The measuring stick of our success at Pima Medical Institute is the success of our graduates.”

June Gudeman

JUNE GUDEMAN is the Alumni Coordinator for Pima Medical Institute. She began 15 years ago, creating the successful program from the ground up. Gudeman focuses much of her efforts on gathering alumni success stories and creatively sharing them with prospective and current students, as well as the Pima Medical Institute staff and community at large.

She manages the medical career college’s alumni website and helps the campuses plan local alumni events to encourage ongoing relationships with Pima Medical graduates. Much of Gudeman’s work is seen as best practice within the industry, and she has contributed her expertise on various committees and task forces focused on alumni connections.

June earned a Master’s in Education from University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL. Prior to her work in the career college arena, she taught and coached at the high school level for 10 years.

Contact Information: Diane Smith // PR and Communications Manager // Pima Medical Institute // 480-320-0142 // dismith@pmi.edu // https://alumni.pmi.edu/ // https://www.facebook.com/pimamedicalinstitute // https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4145749/



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *