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New elections: Prof. Dr. Oliver Schuster takes over as Chairman of the Alumni Association

The alumni association of Hof University of Applied Sciences is under new leadership: at an extraordinary general meeting, those present elected Prof. Dr. Oliver Schuster as the new Chairman. He will be joined by Michael Bitzinger as Deputy Chairman and Aniane Vocke as Treasurer in managing the future fortunes of “hochschule hof alumni e.V.”.

Handing over a well-positioned association: Prof. Dr. Ronald Hechtfischer (2nd from left) with the new Chairman Prof. Dr. Oliver Schuster (2nd from right) as well as the new Treasurer Aniane Vocke and the new Deputy Chairman Michael Bitzinger; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

With the new election, Prof. Dr. Ronald Hechtfischer stepped down from the position he had held since the association was founded almost 20 years ago. University President Prof. Lehmann paid special tribute to him:

“The alumni association of Hof University of Applied Sciences in its form and size is the merit of Prof. Hechtfischer. As the founding chairman, he organized the development and later the life of the association with great personal commitment and credibility. Hof University of Applied Sciences and many former students are very grateful to him for this, as the alumni association is one of our largest networks.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann

He added: “I am sure that the new Board of Directors will now also lead the association into a bright future and, as a next step, strengthen its international focus.” in an interview with the outgoing alumni chairman, “campuls-digital” looks back on the development of the association during this time.

Prof. Hechtfischer, how do you feel when you give up an office that you have held for so long?

“I am simply very happy that with Prof. Dr. Oliver Schuster, Michael Bitzinger and Aniane Vocke, three outstanding personalities will be leading our alumni association into the future. With over 450 members, we are still the largest association at our university in terms of numbers. We have a solid financial basis, also thanks to our generous supporting members.”

Which events, or perhaps which people, do you particularly remember?

“The big event highlights in the last two decades were certainly always our impressive homecomings, where over 300 alumni regularly found their way back to their university and celebrated together with their former fellow students. I will always remember the many happy and grateful faces of our guests.

It is almost impossible for me to mention individual people here in particular. But I am very grateful to some of them: First and foremost, our President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, who is a founding member of our association and has always supported us actively and sometimes financially in all association matters.

Furthermore, the excellent development of hochschule hof alumni e. V. is certainly also a great achievement of our long-time Managing Director Katrin Blug, who will also be leaving her position on 30.06.2024 to take on new challenges at Hof University of Applied Sciences.”

What are the benefits of being an alumnus?

“I openly admit that I have never really liked this question…”

…I hope we can ask you anyway?

“Of course. An alumni association generally offers its members the opportunity to form and maintain networks and stay in close contact with their university. But above all, it’s also about thinking about how you can provide material and financial support as alumni in the face of increasingly tight public university budgets.

I have therefore always answered this question with a modified quote from John. F. Kennedy: “Don’t ask yourself what your university can do for you, but think about what you can do for your university!”.

A good thought. Generally speaking, what are the challenges for alumni work in the future?

“Together with our President and the International Office, we have been working on realigning the entire alumni strategy for some time now. In view of the fact that over 30% of our students now come from an international background, we simply have to think and act bigger in future. We need to develop new platform concepts with innovative offers for our alumni even more than before and integrate the predominantly regionally oriented alumni association into this. This is an exciting task that everyone involved is working on with a great deal of commitment and creative ideas. At the same time, we need to encourage our former students even more than before to get involved in alumni work in a variety of ways.”

What do you wish your successors?

“I have three wishes: that it should be a matter of course for all our students to actively support our alumni work and our university. That we have at least 1,000 members in five years’ time, 50% of whom come from an international background. And that our new Executive Board never gives up and implements these wishes with the joy of creating, because: Alumni work is Sysiphus work.

But I am sure that Prof. Dr Oliver Schuster, Michael Bitzinger and Aniane Vocke will be able to do this, because all three of them have received their tools of the trade from us as Hof students.”

We are happy to endorse these wishes. Thank you very much for the interview!

Rainer Krauß

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