by Jessica Evangelista Balduzzi ’05
On a mild fall day in October, you can find Skylar Beaver ’08, director of the Annual Fund, darting off to one of three places: the Office of Advancement, McCooey Field or The Cooler.
“There is a time of year when field hockey and ice hockey overlap,” explains Beaver, a part time assistant field hockey coach and the William Smith club ice hockey coach. “I work in the Office of Advancement from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., rush off to field hockey practice for two hours, grab a quick dinner and I’m on the ice by 9 p.m. But no matter how busy the work day is, there’s something special about lacing up my skates or sneakers, hitting the ice or turf, and being surrounded by students.”
While in high school, Beaver was determined to play field hockey at a Division I school, but fate intervened when she met William Smith Field Hockey Coach Sally Scatton P’02, P’06 at a camp. “We just clicked,” she explains. “I immediately felt like HWS was home.”
In addition to her role as a student-athlete on Scatton’s field hockey team, Beaver was a member of the William Smith club ice hockey team, coached at the time by Jared Weeden ’91, assistant vice president of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, and Casey Peterson, director of Leadership Giving. Weeden and Peterson took her under their wings, offering her a job in the Office of Advancement stuffing envelopes.
“I’d take envelopes home to stuff during Oprah,” she jokes. “By senior year I was working 15 hours a week on the Annual Fund and staying active as a member of the Stewardson Society. I have a passion for making a difference and I realized I could achieve it through a career in development.”
A month after earning a sociology degree, Beaver accepted a position as an assistant director in the Colleges’ Office of Advancement. “It all fell into place,” she says. “I looked at one apartment, handed them a check and moved back to Geneva a month after graduation.”
Beaver is now in her fourth role at the Colleges, advancing from assistant director to associate director, and later director of reunion and class campaigns. She has been director of the Annual Fund since July 2012, overseeing the Stewardson Society, Class Agent and Reunion campaigns, young alumni and alumnae initiatives, the phonathon and overall management of the Annual Fund.
The office’s strategic mission is to increase participation to 36 percent by May 2015, a challenge Beaver isn’t afraid to take head on. “It’s my job to remind alumni and alumnae why they chose HWS.” Being an alumna has certainly led to success. “Whether the alum graduated two years or 40 years behind me, we have a shared experience.”
And it’s the relationships with her fellow alums that give her work purpose. “I can have a bad day and come home to a card in the mail from Eric Hall Anderson ’59. It’s these types of relationships that keep me going.” “This job doesn’t feel like work, because I love what I do.”