Barry McNamara  |  Published April 07, 2023

An Engaging Alum

Zak Edmonds ’08, Monmouth’s new director of alumni engagement, wants to “get people to feel the same amount of pride about Monmouth as I do.”

ZAK EDMONDS: The 2008 graduate brings a deep passion for his alma mater to his new po... ZAK EDMONDS: The 2008 graduate brings a "deep passion" for his alma mater to his new position.MONMOUTH, Ill. – The person named Monmouth College’s director of alumni engagement is himself a successful Monmouth alum with a “deep passion” for his alma mater.

“There’s just something special about this place,” said Zak Edmonds ’08, who graduated with a degree in communication. “It’s hard to describe to people, but at the same time, everybody who’s here understands.”

Edmonds is a model of Monmouth success. He previously served as the marketing strategist at Midwest Communications in Peoria, Illinois, and business development specialist at OSF HealthCare. In 2020, he was honored by his alma mater as the recipient of its Distinguished Young Alumnus honor.

“Zak bleeds tartan and has a deep passion for Monmouth College,” said Hannah Maher, Monmouth vice president for development and college relations. “He is excited to help us in connecting with our alumni and friends, creating and strengthening relationships with our constituents, and bringing even greater resources to Monmouth College.”

A family tradition

Edmonds followed his father, Jay Edmonds ’71, uncle Chris Edmonds ’74 and brother Adam Edmonds ’99 to Monmouth, a school he said he knew he was destined to attend “since about second grade.”

People who know Edmonds are well aware of the college he attended, mostly because he often wears something from what he calls his “robust” collection of Monmouth apparel.

“There’s just something special about this place. It’s hard to describe to people, but at the same time, everybody who’s here understands.” Zak Edmonds

His devotion to his alma mater has included taking a position on the Alumni Board. While serving as a member of its Alumni Engagement Committee, Edmonds helped establish the “Tartan Talks” webinar series, and he coined the phrase “Tartan Up!” for last year’s Scots Day of Giving.

Edmonds will hit the ground running, with several alumni-focused events in his first few weeks on the job. That includes: the seventh annual Scots Day of Giving on April 13; the spring meeting of the Alumni Board; an alumni event in Peoria; Commencement weekend; and the Golden Scots Celebration, which will be held June 1-4 on campus.

“Beyond that, one of my main areas of focus will be trying to beef up some of our alumni events and generate FOMO (fear of missing out) for some people,” he said.

On the front end of developing relationships, Edmonds said that the admission office plays a key role. But working with alumni, including recent graduates of the College, is also an important element.

“I’m really looking forward to cultivating young alumni,” he said. “If they’re not in a position yet to give financially, helping them to see what other ways they can contribute – maybe by volunteering at an event or by attending a Fighting Scots road game.”

Edmonds said that his ultimate goal is “to get people to feel the same amount of pride about Monmouth as I do.”

Between his Monmouth stints

Following his graduation from Monmouth, Edmonds worked for the national office of his Monmouth fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega; at CEFCU in Peoria and in the insurance field before taking his positions at OSF HealthCare and Midwest Communications.

At OSF, Edmonds helped transform the employer relations team, expanding it from two workers to a team of 10. His professional accomplishments include helping OSF Holy Family and Monmouth College become more aligned by formalizing an internship program to benefit Monmouth students.

While in high school, Edmonds volunteered at OSF St. Francis, and that volunteering spirit has stayed with him for the past two decades. Most notably, he’s been a key figure in the signature fundraiser event for the Hult Center for Healthy Living in Peoria, its annual lobster boil. He served as co-chair for the successful 2019 event, increasing the funding he’s helped raise for the organization to $1.5 million.

Edmonds has also been a volunteer at a variety of organizations, accumulating an extraordinary record of involvement and willingness to help others.

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