Alumni Engagement

Q&A with Greg Hudgison

By Candace Morrow
Photo by Suhyoon Cho

This edition of CSU’s alumni magazine concentrates on the significance of mentoring on and off campus. One person on campus who keeps a constant flow of curious undergraduates, graduates and new alums at his communications door is alumnus Greg Hudgison, B.A. ’94, director of University Relations. In fact, he carves out as much time needed to supervise his veteran marketing team while coaching the campus’ aspiring young media professionals. Here’s why mentoring at CSU matters to him:

Q: Why do you make mentoring part of your job?

A: I have mentored students from grade school to the workforce, so once I got to CSU, this became a great opportunity to focus on college-age students. I believe there is a direct connection between helping our students have a successful college career and my responsibility to promote and protect the brand of Columbus State University. A successful student becomes a brand ambassador for our university, so I invest my time to ensure their time at CSU is a transformation educational experience.

Q: For those who many think mentoring will cut into their work schedule, what advice/words of encouragement would you offer?

A: If possible, I would recommend scheduling the time you want to spend mentoring, as you would other responsibilities during the day. I believe that we all have valuable experience we can share with students, even if it’s just listening to the aspirations of the student and giving them input and feedback. I also benefit as a mentor because it helps me keep up with the changing channels of communication that students are using in traditional and social media.

Q: What are the dos/don’ts of mentoring college students?

A: Dos: Become a coach and motivator; listen more, talk less; ask questions about the student’s aspirations; be willing to share relevant work experience with the student, which helps gives them perspective; and share your professional network if it’s relevant to the student’s field of study. Don’ts: Mentor, don’t parent; guide, don’t direct a student to a degree or major.

Q: What do you hope students gain from mentoring experiences?

A: Mentoring is a great opportunity to connect students with the range of resources available to them across our campus and in the community. My hope is that the student increases their network of social and professional relationships across the campus and in their field of study.

Q: How many students do you mentor throughout the academic year? What are the biggest concerns of these students as they prepare to enter the workforce?

A: I average between five to 10 students during the academic year — both group and individual meeting environments. I also speak to larger groups of students during events hosted by our Collegiate 100 and Greek Life organizations. The biggest concern I hear from students: fear of not having enough real-world experience in their field of study before graduating. I direct them to our Center for Career Development, and I recommend they participate in at least one internship. I also encourage them to look at their current employment and see if there are opportunities within those companies for career advancement that can become matched with their degree field.

More About Me

BEFORE THIS POSITION, I WAS…External communications manager for Synovus

FAMILY: Wife: Vonda; sons: JC (wife-Neicey), Christopher (wife-Beth) and Joshua; grandsons: Ethan and Aiden

LAST BOOK I READ: “The Death of Common Sense” by Phillip Howard

FAVORITE RECORDING ARTIST: Jonathan Butler

Visit alumni.columbusstate.edu to learn more about alumni engagement and the CSU Alumni Association. Also, call 706-507-8946, or email alumni@columbusstate.edu for more information about upcoming events.