Meet Our Staff – Mary (Turner) McDole ’79

Alumni Relations Coordinator

“Wesleyan is a wonderful institution that cultivates amazing people, generation after generation.”

“I am Summer Aldridge’s assistant (Director of Alumni Relations). I help with whatever she needs and have several responsibilities. I’m very hands on with all our event planning. We love to connect and celebrate with our alumni in hopes of keeping them engaged with the College. Once a Panther, always a Panther!

“We host everything from First Thursday events at local establishments each month, holiday parties, the President’s Gala, luncheons for our Brown Scholars, Leadership Wesleyan, tailgates, Hall of Fame awards, Downs After Dark, Topgolf, Duck Pin Bowling and many more. I also help affinity groups organize events for their constituents; former baseball players, basketball alumni or even a specific graduating class who want to connect. Last year we were involved with over 50 events (on campus, off campus and out of town). This is a party crowd!

“Another way we recognize our alumni is with ‘Purple Mail.’ Everyone loves to receive a handwritten note. I send these out to our alumni celebrating new jobs, engagements, marriages, new babies or whatever the special occasion may be. In addition to the personal note, some cool Wesleyan swag is included in our special Purple Mail envelopes. Last year over 300 pieces of Purple Mail were delivered. It’s special when you see an alumnus/a post a picture on their social media of the Purple Mail they received!

“I also facilitate the mentoring program here – Panther CAP (Career Ally Program). About four years ago we started matching interested students with alumni mentors who have similar interests or career goals. We occasionally connect students with community professionals who are not alumni. The goal is to better prepare our undergrads for careers by offering professional development, networking possibilities, job shadowing and advice from someone who has been exactly where they are today. It’s icing on the cake in addition to what they learn in the classroom. The alumni mentors are always excited and willing to work with students and view it to as a way to give back to the College that helped them be successful. It truly is a win-win!

“I came to Kentucky Wesleyan on a Brown Scholarship. I originally planned to attend another Kentucky private college. Somehow in late July of 1976, a scholarship opened for me at Wesleyan which changed my direction completely.

“I benefitted from the small classrooms and the genuine thoughtful guidance from the teaching staff. I met and married my husband, Bob McDole ’78, along with making some amazing lifelong friendships here. It makes me happy to reconnect with old friends and make new ones who all view Wesleyan as a big ol’ extended family! For that reason, my job really isn’t work. It’s just fun! 

“I really enjoy meeting alumni and hearing their stories. Sometimes I’ll get a phone call from a child or grandchild asking for information about their relative who attended/graduated from Wesleyan years ago. I’ll find the appropriate yearbook and do some research. I LOVE finding out who their relative is and sending the family member pictures and information.

“In 2019 we hosted the last Winchester Picnic. The former Winchester campus is about three hours away and was home to Kentucky Wesleyan until 1951 when the college moved to Owensboro. Every year for many years, an entourage from Owensboro traveled to Winchester to host a reunion picnic with the remaining Winchester graduates. In 2019, I thought it would be a fun to take yearbook pictures (from the 1940s) of each of the classmates who registered to attend. I enlarged their photos, put them on card stock and placed them on the tables. The looks on their faces upon seeing their college images were priceless. Wonderful stories poured out from amazing people. That’s what Wesleyan is; a wonderful institution that cultivates amazing people, generation after generation.

“Regarding the future, I am looking forward to helping host many more successful events and seeing more students involved with Panther CAP.

“I honestly think the very best department on campus is the Advancement Team. We all work together seamlessly on events, fundraising and supporting the College.

“I take pleasure in cooking and entertaining guests. No wonder I like my job! I also enjoy golf and spending time with my children and grandchildren.”