ANNAPOLIS – Anthony D’Antonio remembers what it was like to wait for an acceptance letter from Salisbury State University.
He got one, and ultimately graduated twice — once in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in health fitness and again in 1990 with a master’s in education.
And now, an admissions counselor at the Eastern Shore school since January 1996, D’Antonio, 30, knows what it’s like to send those letters to eager high school seniors.
D’Antonio, along with hundreds of others across Maryland, is giving back to his alma mater — not just as an alumnus, but as a member of its staff or faculty.
Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Wilson has also come full circle. He is one of 165 United States Naval Academy graduates who are now officers stationed there.
Wilson, 32, came to Annapolis in the summer of 1982 as a plebe. And 11 years after he graduated with a degree in mathematics and a minor in operations analysis, he returned last year as a conduct officer in charge of discipline.
Now a company officer, he appreciates the traditions and activities that nearly overwhelmed him as a student. As a midshipman, Wilson didn’t want to give up his free time. But as an educator, he attends more sporting and extra-curricular events.
Coming to work at the academy after a distinguished career has been the “icing on the cake,” Wilson said.
While data are scarce on graduates who later join their universities as employees, administrators at area colleges say the phenomenon is not rare.
According to Carolyn Kues, assistant director of the Career Development and Placement Center at Loyola College, of 2,901 graduating students surveyed between 1993 and ’95, 17 were hired by Loyola for both full- and part-time work.
Many — like D’Antonio and Wilson — leave for a while and then return.
Dr. Linda Gast, director of the University of Maryland at College Park’s Career Center, said that baccalaureate level jobs at colleges are few and far between.
And those jobs that are available, such as accountant, offer a smaller salary than a graduating student might be able to find off campus, Gast said.
Vickie Johnson of Frederick went back to school after being a homemaker for 20 years.
After graduating from Hood College in 1995, she wanted to teach English at a secondary school but was concerned about the younger competition — she was then 45 years old.
A job opened up at Hood, and Johnson is now the coordinator of publications — overseeing course catalogs, recruitment literature and the president’s newsletter, among other things.
Elsewhere at Hood, Kristin Woods, a May 1992 graduate, is assistant director of alumnae programs at the predominantly women’s college. In 1994, Woods, now 27, returned and now represents 12,000 alumni — including herself.
That many returnees to universities are employed with alumni or recruitment programs comes as no surprise to Woods. Who to better represent the college? she asked.
Johnson agrees. “There is a certain amount of familiarity with the work setting and campus that you bring with you,” she said. “Having had a superb experience here I have a great deal of enthusiasm for promoting Hood.”
D’Antonio says that when students find out he attended Salisbury State himself, “It gets [their] attention.”
The same holds true for College Park admissions counselor Kate Snyder. Snyder graduated from the College of Journalism in May 1996.
Before becoming an admissions counselor, Snyder, 22, worked in the Department of Resident Life as an assistant marketing coordinator. “I really enjoyed it. Students and students’ affairs,” she said.
When a position opened in undergraduate admissions, Snyder jumped at the chance. “It has made it easier having done undergraduate work here … easier, maybe not better,” she said. As an alumna, Snyder is genuinely familiar with the university’s different programs.
Snyder plans to start her graduate work soon, “definitely at Maryland,” where she receives tuition remission benefits.
Joshah Hedrington also worked on his campus while a student in public communications at American University in Washington, D.C.
The May 1996 graduate worked as a database administrator at American’s law school and as a gift processor with Alumni Relations and Development during his senior year.
After graduation, a full-time position with the alumni office opened up. Hedrington, 22, now works as a receptionist coordinating alumni reunions, planning fundraising events and scheduling benefits for 80,000 alumni.
Hedrington is originally from the Virgin Islands. He plans to remain in alumni relations and to earn his master’s degree at American.
The returnees don’t feel that they are overstaying their welcomes. “You are going back in a different position. The paradigm has shifted,” Woods said. -30-