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Renée Steele joins UNCP as director of Alumni Relations


As a student and later an alumnae, Renée Steele was an engaged student at UNC Pembroke. As the University’s new alumni director, she will get to plan those events.

Steele, a 1993 graduate and former Miss UNCP, was serving as first vice president of the Alumni Association before joining the Office of Advancement.

Vice Chancellor for the Office for Advancement Sandy Waterkotte said Steele’s long time relationship with the University would help others make connections. 

“We are so fortunate that Renée expressed an interest in this position,” Waterkotte said. “After conducting a national search, we were convinced that Renée’s connection to UNCP as a student, her active participation with the Alumni Association Board, and the credentials and skills she brings with her, made her the perfect choice. 

“She cares about UNCP so much, and that will show in her dealings with our alumni!” she concluded

Steele has considerable experience in higher education as an administrator with Bladen Community College (BCC) and adjunct instructor for the University of Phoenix. She is also enrolled in a doctoral program at Fayetteville State University.

“I had a lot of interaction with students as director of the Basic Skills program at BCC,” she said. “I love working with young adults to help them realize their dreams.

 “As I was growing up I had tremendous examples in my family and community,” Steele said. “It’s important to reach back to encourage others.”

A first generation college student, Steele said UNCP helped her realize her dream of a college education and more.

“I remember as a little girl watching the Miss North Carolina Pageant and wanting to participate one day,” she said. “As Miss UNCP, I realized that dream, and it means a lot to me.”

Steele was also president of UNCP’s Student Government Association and a Homecoming Queen.

“I built strong relationships with this institution through several student organizations,” she said. “As alumni director, I will reach out across campus to current students to build those kinds of relationships.”

The new alumni director would like to build a Student Alumni Association as well as develop programs and relationships with future alumni. She will plan a wide range of alumni events, including the Alumni Awards Banquet (on February 4) and the Annual Phone-a-thon as well as working with the Alumni Association.

“I am thankful that this is a strong and well organized office,” Steele said. “It is a good team, and I have enjoyed being part of it.”

A Bladen County native, Steele also coordinated G.E.D., Adult High School, English as a Second Language and Compensatory Education programs for BCC. In the private sector, she was a human relations manager for a manufacturing facility with 100 employees.

One of the most important lessons, Steele said she learned was from a six-year old.

“I worked one-on-one with a hearing impaired child,” she said. “She taught me that there are no limitations to what we can accomplish.

“You could say I learned everything I need to know in kindergarten, the second time around.”

For more information, please contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at 910.521.6533.