Brian Ralph

Passing the Baton

For the past two years, Kristy Mallard ’93 has led the Alumni Association Board of Directors as President.

When the pandemic shut down the world, Mallard rallied alumni engagement digitally. And when it opened up again, she encouraged engagement at Alumni Weekend and Commencement. Her leadership on the Board brought together alumni and the campus community.

Mallard will say farewell to her role as Alumni Board President in June 2023.  

The Alumni Board is an organization that supports students by building personal and lasting ties between alumni, the University, and the community. As Board President, Mallard served as the face of alumni to campus. 

Mallard first joined the Board as a member four years ago because she wanted to reconnect with her alma mater. She hoped by being involved with the Board, she could get to know students better and make an impact on them. 

When the chance came up for her to apply to be president, she knew she had to go for it. She was then voted in as president-elect and after one year of service, she became the president.

“I wanted to use my time in the role to better serve the students and campus,” she said. “It was an unexpected benefit to get to know President Ralph and the Office of Advancement better through the role. I got to know the behind-the-scenes of what they do for alumni.” 

In her role, she was able to encourage alumni to mentor, volunteer, connect, attend events, and give to their alma mater. 

The position also allowed Mallard to serve on WPU’s Board of Trustees, the board that governs the University’s policies and strategic initiatives. There she was able to use her perspective as an alumna to express her voice on issues that helped grow WPU. 

Mallard was drawn to attend then Peace College because she knew the small campus size would be perfect for her. She found professors on campus that supported her while she earned her associate of arts degree. After Peace, Mallard went on to North Carolina State University where she majored in Textile and Apparel Management. She now works as an Operations Coordinator with G/FORE, a golf company based in Durham. 

While it’s bittersweet for her to say goodbye, she’s excited for the next alumni board president, Taylor Shaw ’12.

Currently, a professor of mass communication at Shaw University in Raleigh, Shaw has also taught courses at WPU. Her career has taken her from working in newsrooms to leading social media strategies, and later serving as the social media director for the University of Virginia. 

Shaw was recognized in 2022 when the Alumni Association Board of Directors awarded her Young Alumni of the Year.

“She’s so outgoing and personable,” Mallard said. “She cares about WPU and has deep connections to the campus. She is a good leader who will step up to do what’s needed.”

Mallard’s advice for Shaw taking on the role is to be courageous and bold while still having patience with herself.

To Shaw, the transition to becoming the next president is like a “passing of the baton.” Mallard will remain on the Board for a year after Shaw becomes president.

“Kristy is such a wealth of knowledge,” Shaw said. “I’m so thankful for her leadership, especially during the pandemic, when we were virtual and keeping our community engaged online.”

Along with Mallard continuing to serve on the Board, former Alumni Board President Sarah Armstrong Barge ’79 serves there, as well. “Having the presidents before me be involved with the Alumni Board is incredible. I have a network to go to for support and to ask questions,” Shaw said.

Shaw is excited to start leading the Board this summer as WPU’s first Black Alumni Board President. She plans to focus her time in the role on connecting alumni with campus through volunteering, mentoring, and attending events. 

“Just because you graduate doesn’t mean that’s the end of your time at WPU. You can continue to create memories at WPU as alumni,” she said. “Alumni have the amazing opportunity to connect with a Peace community of all generations and ages. You can bond over shared experiences.”

To learn more about getting involved with the Alumni Association Board of Directors, visit peace.edu/alumni-giving/alumni-board/.

The immense display of courage by our community has given more confidence than ever about our future — a future filled with promise and innovation. Confidence that we are providing an exceptional experience here that enables our students to turn their passion into purpose

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