We’ve been around for over two decades. From a humble exchange of email to a fully-functioning group, Shepard Alumni is flourishing. This is because our members are active and enthusiastic. It might sound cliche, but you really do make a difference.
On September 14, 2001, Charlie Dillon (1985) emailed friends remembering the life of fellow classmate Marcus McFadden. Marcus died while we were still in high school. He was the first person who died our age that most of us knew. It affected us in the 1980s and it affected us still. Charlie insightfully understood and compassionately connected his friends to remember Marcus.
People began discussing life since high school and remembering the old days.
This was in the immediate wake of 9-11. Our nation looked for answers and we looked for each other. We knew our roots mattered, that where we came from mattered, and our friendships mattered.
It was clear people wanted to connect. Back in those days, there was no Facebook. We started a Yahoo group which enjoyed a brief life — exchanging email back and forth. As we grew, it was clear Yahoo wasn’t going to cut it.
Word got out and we grew beyond our class of 1985. First off, our graduating years of 1984 and 1986 jumped in. It turned out they had friends in other years, so they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on (you older folks know the commercial).
In 2009, Facebook was the next step. Now, we can handle a large, dynamic group. We have over 3,000 members from all years and continue to grow.
We want to see all of Shepard grads connected, whether as old friends, new friends, or through business relationships.
We want to encourage grads to move through life as good as they can be.
Charlie Dillon (Class of 1985) sends an email cc: to 15 or so people. Others are quickly added.
A giant cc: list becomes unwieldy and so we head over Yahoo Groups and grow to over 100 members.
Facebook starts being more popularly used and we begin a group.
March 2012, we join LinkedIn to help alumni connect professionally.
We pass 1,000 members on Facebook.
We pass 2,000 members on Facebook.
We launch the first iteration of this website.
We pass 3,000 members.
We join Twitter and Instagram so we can connect with people who aren’t on Facebook and share good news.
We launch a Facebook page. This allows us to advertise and for anyone to follow.
We shifted our LinkedIn presence from a group to a page so that it would easier for people to follow. The group still exists.
We hope to see more grads connected, well-attended reunions, and thriving friendships.