WAA Names a New Leader

Sarah Schutt takes the reins from Paula Bonner.

Dana Crary

Sarah Schutt has been named chief alumni officer and executive director of the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), succeeding Paula Bonner MS’78.

Bonner joined the WAA staff in 1989 and became the organization’s president in 2000. She stepped down in June to concentrate on the opening of Alumni Park, scheduled for October. (See Conversation.)

Schutt has worked in higher education for 25 years, nearly all of them at UW–Madison. “Sarah has demonstrated the strategic-thinking, decision-making, project-management, and team-leadership capabilities that make her a great choice for this role,” says Mike Knetter, the president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, which is WAA’s parent organization. “I am confident she will strengthen our 156-year history of engaging our outstanding alumni.”

Schutt first joined the UW as a residence life coordinator in 1994, and since then, she has served in a number of roles on campus and at WAA.

“Sarah is already recognized across the Big Ten and among other alumni leaders around the country for her leadership of signature alumni learning and engagement programs such as Grandparents University, as well as relaunching alumni career networking,” Bonner says. “She is the perfect fit for this role at this time in our history.”

Schutt’s first role with WAA was as director of its lifelong learning programs. Many alumni know her from her eight years leading Grandparents University, but she also has fond memories of her first student send-off in Los Angeles; the All Ways Forward campaign launch in 2015; the Red Tie Gala; Alumni College weekends in Door County and Monterey, California; and running into a couple of young alumni in the ruins of Pompeii while hosting a WAA trip to Italy.

“No matter the setting, the city, or the activity,” she says, “UW alumni worldwide share enthusiasm and passion for their alma mater. That gives me joy and energy and makes me feel so honored to represent them and our university. I’m humbled to follow in the footsteps of past leaders and thrilled to be carrying on the traditions they established.”

Published in the Fall 2017 issue

Tags: administration, Alumni

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