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Getting to Know Deborah Dietzler

July 17, 2014

Deborah Dietzler was announced this week as the new executive director of the UofL Alumni Association. She comes to UofL from the University of Georgia, where she served in various roles including executive director of alumni relations since 1997.

Q: What attracted you to the University of Louisville? Why did you choose to come here as opposed to any other school?
A: I’ve known former executive director Jen Heisey for several years through our professional organizations, and had been impressed with what she was doing here. When I heard she was leaving, I began investigating more thoroughly, and decided that UofL was a perfect fit for me. I am inspired by the energy and dynamism I see in every corner of campus and I’m excited to be part of a university that is on such a rapid upward trajectory. There’s so much we can do with regard to alumni programs to engage our graduates in meaningful ways. President Ramsey has said that the success of alumni is truly the best indicator of success as an institution, and I couldn’t agree more – in fact, I’ve been saying that in my speeches for years. I can’t wait to get out to meet Cardinals and learn more about their UofL experiences.

Q: You’ve only been in the office for a few days, but what have you been doing thus far?
A: My first day featured new employee orientation, and since it has been more than 17 years since I’ve been the “new person,” it was quite an experience. The program was very well done. Everyone who came to speak to the group was so enthusiastic and clearly devoted to UofL. It made me even happier (if that’s possible) about my decision to join the team. My first day at the alumni center was wonderful – I truly appreciated the warm welcomes that came in from across campus. I didn’t get as much work done as I had hoped to, but that’s just fine. Meeting people who are excited about UofL is one of the most important activities of my role.

Q: What do you think of the city of Louisville so far?
A: I just love it. There are so many great little neighborhoods, the parks are beautiful, people are really friendly, and the food scene is terrific. My husband, Peter Anderson, and I have spent most of our free time looking for a home, so we are becoming quite familiar with the area, though we are not yet navigating like natives. We are delighted to call Louisville our new home and we are looking forward to making many happy memories here.

Q: Three people, living or dead, who you would like to invite to a dinner party.
A:This is a very hard one. Honestly, if I were having a dinner party, and could invite someone who is deceased, there is no hesitation in that I would want my late father there. He passed away 19 years ago and I miss him every day. If my father were there, then I would absolutely have to have my two sisters, because it wouldn’t be fair to get more time with him and not have them with me. I guess you can tell family is very important to me. I never would have achieved what I have achieved in my life to date without the love and support of my parents and sisters. Now, if we are going to look outside the family, then I would select Mother Teresa, because she was a beautiful example of a life well lived in service to others; Katharine Graham, a woman who was very successful in a male-dominated profession; and perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt, another outstanding woman who made a difference. My doctoral research is on women and leadership – I’m very passionate about this topic.

Q: What are you reading this summer?
A: I love to read! Since I am deep in the midst of research, everything I am reading deals with that. In fact, someone told me last December that I should not plan to do any leisure reading until I finish – but if leisure reading is a must, it was suggested that children’s books be chosen, because they are short! Alumni are welcome to friend me on if they want to follow along. At the moment, I’m working on “What Works for Women at Work,” and a few others.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about working at UofL?
A: This is another area that is hard to whittle down to just one thing. Truly, meeting new people who love this university and want to work with us to bring it to even greater heights. I’m a very high extrovert and am really happy when I am out amongst the alumni.

Q: Favorite place you have ever visited?
A: Here again, a challenge to pick only one. Peter and I have been fortunate to travel to many great places. We loved the Galapagos Islands for the wildlife that is found there and nowhere else in the world. But, we are big fans of Rome and Prague, too. Last summer, we took a two week trip through the Canadian Rockies and were in awe of nature’s majesty on display. Being from Metro New York, I’m always game for heading to the Big Apple, which is one of my favorite places.

Q: What is the single most important thing you would like a recent graduate to know about the Alumni Association?
A: That we want and need them to be engaged with UofL for the rest of their lives – as alumni, they are part of the Cardinal family forever.

Q: Where did you go to college?
A: Bachelor’s degree in English from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY – I decided to stay close to home. After undergrad, I wanted to get far away, so ventured to College Station, TX, where I earned a master’s in marketing from Texas A&M. As I mentioned earlier, I’m pursuing my doctorate in higher education management at UGA.

Q: What else do we need to know about you?
A: I absolutely love what I do and am so thankful to have found this profession. I consider myself fortunate to be an Aggie, because while I arrived on campus with a solid foundation, so much came together for me during my time there. The experience continues to guide me in my work and my life.