Aquinas College’s new Director of Alumni and Community Outreach is no stranger to the College. Instead of trying to convince people to come to Aquinas in her previous role as Admissions Counselor, Sarah Thompson is now trying to get people to come back to Aquinas.
A native of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania near Scranton, Sarah moved to Nashville “on a whim” after college.
“One of my college friends was going to Vanderbilt to get her master’s degree,” Sarah explains. “Right before she moved, one of the girls that had committed to live with her backed out so she needed to fill that space quickly. I had always been interested in moving to the south, within three weeks I made the decision to move, packed up, and became a Nashville resident.”
Music City first called Sarah to Music Row at EMI Music Publishing. The mercilessness of the music business, however, claimed a victim when EMI was purchased by Sony. Sarah remembers, “It was a blessing in disguise, though. While the music business had a lot of fantastic perks, I have found that higher education is a much better fit for me.”
Sarah quickly fell in love with Aquinas and the students that make it such a special place. Being such a close-knit community, she discovered that the maturity of the students and the small size make a great combination. “The students are really guiding the way that changes are happening,” she observes. “Their voices are allowed to be heard which does not always happen at a larger school.”
She worked in the Office of Admissions for over three years. Known as Sarah Babish until recently, she married Jared Thompson in the fall prior to assuming her new position.
A luncheon for December graduates last month, her first event in the new role, gave Sarah a unique perspective. “It was really rewarding to go from working with some of those students on the front end in Admissions,” she says.
The Community Outreach aspect of her job involves planning events with the wider community, as well. Connie Hansom, Director of Admissions, allowed her staff to plan events for the office such as the Preview Days and Scholarship Day. Sarah explains, “That experience has already been so valuable as I begin to plan the Convivium.”
The Convivium, now in its fourth year, takes place on Friday, March 31 and raises money for student financial aid. The event returns to the Aquinas campus in front of the newly completed women’s residence, Siena Hall, and will feature a dessert auction and celebrity guest Patricia Heaton.
She is excited for her new role at this exciting time in Aquinas history. When asked about her hopes for the position, Sarah answered: “I hope to get alumni more involved than they have been in the past,” she We are in an exciting transition period now where our alumni are more connected to Aquinas with the experience of on-campus living. There’s a better sense of community among our students than there had been before we had residential life. I hope to help foster that community and school pride after they leave and be sure it continues for years to come. I want to keep up with these students and celebrate their personal and professional achievements.”Sarah encourages anyone in the extended Aquinas community—alumni, benefactors, and friends—to keep in touch with her. She may be reached at 615-297-7545 ext. 492 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.