October 13, 2015

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

VSU Alumna Melinda Fudge Named Director of Alumni Relations

Pictured is Melinda Fudge, director of the Office of Alumni Relations at Valdosta State University.

VALDOSTA – Melinda Fudge’s first two months as director of the Office of Alumni Relations at Valdosta State University have been eventful.

“I have been very busy meeting with fellow alumni, promoting chapter activities, planning homecoming with our Alumni Association board members and volunteers, and coordinating alumni opportunities with our VSU faculty and staff,” said Fudge.

As director, Fudge is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Office of Alumni Relations and the coordination of all programs designed to strengthen relations and engage members of the VSU Alumni Association in activities that support the university’s mission.

“We want to encourage our alumni to return to campus and share their time and talents with our current students,” she said. “We also want to encourage our alumni to share their love of Valdosta State with their community. We currently have four chapters of the VSU Alumni Association — Atlanta, Golden Isles, Middle Georgia, and Valdosta. These chapters facilitate opportunities for alumni to connect with one another and stay connected to the university through leadership and volunteer opportunities, student outreach, local events, social and professional networking, and philanthropy. Our alumni chapters have the unique ability to engage a wide breadth of alumni — geographically and demographically — while building a network that celebrates and supports Valdosta State University.”

Fudge earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from VSU’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1997.

“Twenty years ago this fall, I stepped onto campus as a transfer student in my junior year,” she shared. “When I visited and saw how beautiful the campus was, I knew I wanted to call VSU my alma mater. Within the first week, I was enamored with the campus community and felt at home. For me, now just as it was then, it’s simply the culture of VSU that’s so appealing. It’s the kindness and compassion of our student scholars, the caliber of our exceptional faculty and staff, as well as the successful alumni we produce…we have a reputation for being innovative leaders within higher education. It is truly an honor and a privilege to return home to VSU and serve our campus community and my fellow alumni.”

“Melinda returns to her alma mater with an impressive resume of accomplishments,” said John Crawford, vice president for the Division of University Advancement. “Her experience, coupled with her passion for VSU, made her an ideal choice for director of alumni relations. I look forward to working with her to ensure that VSU graduates have increased opportunities to be engaged with the university.”

Before joining Valdosta State University, Fudge served as the executive director of the Georgia Wiregrass chapter of the American Red Cross for three years and was the director of development at Thomas University for eight years.

“Throughout my career, I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve a dynamic cross section of society,” she shared. “I enjoy meeting people and hearing their individual stories. I consider it a great honor to be able to share the impressive works that our alumni are creating in their professional and personal lives…we have a beautiful tapestry of alumni, multicultural, varying socioeconomics, diverse with so many inspirational stories and spanning generations.

Fudge and her husband, David, reside in Thomasville. They have two daughters, Keaton, a senior at Cairo High School, and Emma, a sixth grader at the Scholars Academy in Thomasville; and two Labradors, Charlie and Abbey.

“On the weekends when we’re not cheering on our Blazer athletes, we’re camping, kayaking, hiking, biking, and we’re probably geocaching—we may or may not be lost,” she said.

Fudge is a member of the Junior Service League and the Garden Club in Thomasville. When asked if there are any organizations in the Valdosta area she would like to join, Fudge shared that there are numerous engaging clubs and service organizations in Valdosta and she looks forward to seeing where she may be of service.

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goal:

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.