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Jaclyn Hugg

Associate Director of Alumni Engagement

Our graduate alumni are intelligent people, and they go on to do amazing things. They have a lot to give back to the University and its students. It’s important that we maintain that connection.”

Throughout her career, Jaclyn has forged her own path, shaping each of her positions around student population needs. This trend began after she graduated from Buena Vista University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Leadership Communication, and has persisted as she continued to find herself in newly created roles over the years. 

“I like to create things essentially from nothing,” Jaclyn says. “I like to lead the way into different areas and figure out solutions to better serve students and alumni.”

Her first job in higher education was at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. As the Coordinator of Programming and Leadership, Jaclyn oversaw the student government, social programming at the university, and additional initiatives through student affairs. She also served as the international student advisor. After one year in that position, Jaclyn was promoted to the Director of Cross Cultural Programs and Services, a department that had been recently formed. Here, she focused on community service programming, diversity programming, and accommodations for students with disabilities.

“I had the opportunity to create everything from scratch,” explains Jaclyn. “I worked on everything from writing our mission statement to building out a portfolio of services and events.”  

After four years at Friends, Jaclyn moved to San Diego, California to pursue a master’s degree in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a specialization in Student Affairs. During that time, she worked for San Diego State University’s Compact Scholars Program, a retention initiative focused on supporting a specific population of students from San Diego’s South Bay community. Once she completed her graduate degree, Jaclyn was hired on as the Student Success Advisor.

In 2013, Jaclyn accepted a position at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media. Here, she worked as the Assistant Director of Advising, and was responsible for academic advising at all levels. After four years in this role, the position of Associate Director of Alumni Engagement at Northwestern became available. 

“Most of the students that I’ve worked with in the past have been undergraduates,” she says. “Their affinity lies with the university at-large, the friends they made during their time at school, or the traditions at the university. As I speak with alumni from the graduate level, specifically PhD recipients, from various programs at various stages of their professions, it gets more specific. So, for example, their affinity may lie with their labs, the people in their labs, or their faculty advisors.” 

Jaclyn has spent her first five months at the University getting to know Northwestern’s graduate alumni population. Through an information-gathering process that includes interviews and focus groups, she hopes to better understand the needs of current alumni, and to find ways to help them reconnect or strengthen their connection with Northwestern. Part of that work will include getting clear data on where alumni are and what they do, repurposing some existing programming through the Northwestern Alumni Association, and developing new initiatives that are tailored to their needs and interests.

“Our graduate alumni are intelligent people, and they go on to do amazing things,” says Jaclyn. “They have a lot to give back to the University and its students. It’s important that we maintain that connection.”

Jaclyn feels fortunate to get to work with a group of people who are motivated, strategic, and smart. Overall, the position is challenging her in new ways that are leading to professional and personal growth. One unexpected job perk has been Northwestern’s signature purple color.

“My favorite color has and always will be purple,” Jaclyn laughs. “I’ve never worked for a school that has so much purple, so that brings me joy every day.”

If you are interested in learning more about alumni opportunities, or would like to discuss potential partnerships, please contact Jaclyn at