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Alumni association faces realignment: “We want to be bigger and more international”

The Hof University Alumni Network was founded in 2004. Today, it comprises approximately 450 members from the ranks of professors, staff, alumni and students – making it the largest association to emerge from Hof University of Applied Sciences. Prof. Dr. Ronald Hechtfischer is now entering his last year at the helm of the association following the recent new elections to the board. In a conversation with “Campuls-digital”, he talks about the current situation of the association and about medium- and long-term perspectives.

The newly elected board of the alumni association at Hof University of Applied Sciences (from left): Chairman Prof. Dr. Ronald Hechtfischer, Treasurer Aniane Vocke, Chairman-designate Dr. Oliver Schuster and Vice-Chairman Michael Bitzinger; Photo: alumni hochschule hof e.V.;

Prof. Hechtfischer, you have been confirmed for another year as chairman of the alumni association at Hof University of Applied Sciences. The pandemic was certainly not easy for an association that mainly profits from face-to-face events. How do you see the network currently positioned?

“Corona was a difficult time for all of us – including our alumni association. We tried to keep in touch with our alumni and friends on a regular basis with online lectures on interesting topics as well as newsletters. This succeeded to some extent; however, an alumni network thrives on personal on-site contacts, which were simply not possible during Corona.

We had our general meeting at our university at the end of April 2023. The new board was also elected there. I am very happy that with Michael Bitzinger (Vice-Chairman) and Aniane Vocke (Treasurer) two outstanding personalities were unanimously elected together with me as Chairman and are now steering the fortunes of the Alumni Association.

We are still the largest association at our university in terms of numbers. And, we are on a rock-solid financial footing, thanks also to our generous sustaining members.”

What are your plans for the future?

“Together with our president and the International Office, we are currently working on a realignment of the complete alumni strategy. Given the fact that over 30% of our students now come from international backgrounds, we simply have to think and act bigger in the future. We need to develop new platform concepts with innovative offers for our alumni to an even greater extent than before and integrate the predominantly regionally oriented alumni association into this. This is an exciting task that everyone involved is working on with great commitment.”

A change of office is also being considered…

“Yes, that has also been thought of. It is no longer a secret that after 25 years as a university lecturer and 20 years as chairman of our alumni association, I will be going into semi-retirement at the end of the 2023 summer semester and will then face official retirement on 01.10.2024(laughs). I have communicated this to all present at the general meeting on 26.04.2023 and will then leave the board by 30.09.2024 at the latest.

I am very pleased that Prof. Dr. Oliver Schuster, who studied at our university, has agreed – subject to his election – to lead the Alumni Association into the future as the new chairman.

Prof. Dr. Ronald Hechtfischer

At the same time, we need to fill the management position of our association in a timely manner, as our long-time managing director Katrin Blug is taking on new responsibilities at the university and is currently only available to us for administrative tasks on a temporary basis.”

What would you wish for the future of the association?

“I would have two wishes: first, that it should actually be a matter of course for all our students to actively support our association and our university as alumni. And second, that in five years we have 1,000 members, 50% of whom come from an international background.”

Good luck for that and thank you for the interview!

To the Alumni Association of Hof University…

Rainer Krauß

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