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Alumni gather in front of the Donald P. Jacobs Center to celebrate Reunion 2013.

Alumni gather in front of the Donald P. Jacobs Center to celebrate Reunion 2013.

Celebrating the past, charting the future

Kellogg’s 2013 Reunion brings alumni together, and Dean’s address has people talking

By Daniel P. Smith

5/8/2013 -
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from reunion
In her 30 years since graduating from the Kellogg School of Management, Laura Zoller ’83 had not returned to the school’s Evanston campus for any formal school program.

That streak ended in May’s first weekend when Zoller, currently a consumer insights pro at MillerCoors, joined more than 1,600 Kellogg alumni from 33 countries and 11 different graduating classes – from 1963 to 2012 – at Reunion 2013.

“I see a lot of new things, but the spirit of Kellogg remains intact,” the Chicago-based Zoller said.

Reunion 2013 featured panel discussions on pressing business issues, expert presentations from leading Kellogg faculty, career workshops, a performance by student group Special K! and plenty of reminiscing.

But it was the charged presentation of Kellogg dean Sally Blount ’92 that created the biggest stir.

Charting Kellogg’s future
In her 45-minute Dean’s Address on May 4, Blount delivered a presentation that was part reality check and part fearless response to an evolving, competitive business landscape. Blount defined Kellogg’s new strategic trajectory, which includes thought leadership that drives global change, an educational mission that attracts the best students and a presence in key global markets.

“We don’t want to make marginal changes at Kellogg,” the third-year dean said.

The bold changes include Kellogg’s forthcoming 350,000-square foot headquarters on the Evanston campus. Located near the Allen Center and slated to open in fall 2016, the building will feature open spaces to promote interaction and flexible classroom configurations designed to provide a dynamic face-to-face learning environment.

Kellogg’s ambitious plans enthused many alumni in the crowd, including Jorge Quintanilla Nielsen EMP-39.

“Dean Blount was energized and she passed that onto us,” the Bolivia-based Nielsen said. “I love how Kellogg is committed to being one of the world’s top 10 business schools and that’s why I continue to invest in Kellogg.”

Gathering alumni to share and celebrate
Kellogg Senior Director of Alumni and Donor Relations Paul Gediman said reunions allow alumni — so many of whom shared a transformational experience at a pivotal point in their lives — an authentic way to reconnect.

“People move pretty fast and furious these days,” Gediman said. “So we hope that the reunion gave people a day or two of deeper connection.”

Nagesh Mallugari ’08 traveled to the reunion from San Francisco, where he works in strategic marketing for Medtronic, a global leader in medical device technologies. Eager to reconnect with classmates and faculty, he was excited to see that the Kellogg hallmarks of high energy and ambition not only remained, but intensified.

“Through the Think Bravely campaign, Dean Blount is driving the change in how we look at ourselves,” Mallugari said. “That’s inspiring and something Kellogg alums can celebrate.”

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