Fran Volel-Stech '89 will never forget her experience at UMUC. Inspired by her fond memories as a student while serving in the U.S. Army, she generously donates her time and resources to support the university in helping current students reach their educational goals.
"The instruction I received and the connections I've made are invaluable," said Volel-Stech. "UMUC helped me to grow in my career and I want to return the favor by helping someone else."
As newly appointed president of the Alumni Association, Volel-Stech hopes to not only increase association membership, but also to increase alumni contributions to the university. She frequently travels around the country to attend Alumni Association meetings and fundraising events, and to motivate other UMUC alumni to get involved. Volel-Stech also regularly interacts with current students. She has served as a mentor and been a speaker at job fairs, open houses and other UMUC student events.
"It's great to see the faces of those you’ve helped through giving back. It gives you a sense of purpose because none of us achieve success totally on our own," she said.
Volel-Stech earned a BS in Business from UMUC more than 20 years ago while raising a family and serving in the U.S. Army. Stationed in Seoul, Korea, when she began taking classes, she understands the challenges working adults face trying to balance family, careers and academics.
"Many times there are naysayers out there who will always tell you that you can’t do this or you can't do that," she recalled. "But UMUC was wonderful, and they were flexible. They really worked with military students to make sure you completed your work and were learning."
Volel-Stech added that she is extremely grateful for UMUC's commitment to working with military students like her. She has a long history of giving to the university, particularly to support its military programs. After speaking with a university volunteer during a "thank-a-thon," Volel-Stech decided she wanted to do more. She was appointed to the Alumni Association Board in 2004 and has held six leadership positions, including vice president of philanthropy.
In 2007, Volel-Stech teamed up with members of UMUC's Information Technology department to establish an endowed scholarship fund for IT and project management students. Three students have received awards through this scholarship. In 2010, Volel-Stech was awarded the Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumna Service Award for all her efforts.
Volel-Stech hopes her commitment to UMUC will motivate others to give back.
"All that I've done for the Alumni Association, for the university, for the students is because I really believe in it and I want to help," she said.