A month after receiving his accounting degree in 1994, Ucal Palmer took his post-graduate life all the way to Atlanta—only to find that it was like he never left Dartmouth.
Palmer was reunited with a college friend when his UMassD window sticker was spotted on his car. “When I moved down here, I found that a lot of people were from Massachusetts,” he said.
Most alumni move through the cycle of life after college—graduate, maybe move and start a family, or change jobs a few times. The key, Palmer says, is staying connected to your roots.
“After I graduated, I stayed in contact with a lot of people from UMass Dartmouth, especially the College Now staff,” Palmer said. “That kept me connected with the university over the years and led to my interest in becoming more active in the Alumni Association today.”
When Palmer leaves sunny Atlanta to head back north to visit his family in his native Springfield, MA, he makes it a priority to visit UMass Dartmouth. On each visit back to campus, seeing the growth of UMassD makes Palmer proud of his alma mater. He’s especially excited to see the new first-year residence hall and dining facility on his next trip here. “When I took a tour during Homecoming, I couldn’t believe the progress,” he said. “We’re growing and building. I’m proud to be a part of a university that is here to stay.”
“It really is the jewel of the SouthCoast.”
In Atlanta, Palmer works in the commercial finance industry as a relationship manager for Wells Fargo Capital Finance. Now, as his children are older, Palmer has more time to engage actively with UMassD. As a graduate of the College Now program, he often returns to speak to students in the program, offering words of encouragement and sharing his own experience as a UMassD grad.
Two years ago, Palmer joined the UMass Dartmouth Alumni Association Board, where he feels he can make a greater impact on current students. “I want to make myself accessible to students, so I can share my knowledge and let them know that when you get your degree, the UMassD family is still here for you,” he said.
Even virtually from Atlanta, Palmer helps UMassD students build their network with other alumni or businesspeople. He recently connected with a new alum over LinkedIn. These types of interactions are invaluable to graduates.
Palmer’s other goal is to help start a UMass chapter of alumni in the Atlanta area where graduates of all campuses can reconnect. “There’s a heavy UMass presence here—Dartmouth, Amherst, and Boston. I want to create an opportunity for us to gather in a local UMassD chapter.”
As a board member, Palmer is proud to have this opportunity to support current students.
“You can give your money, or you can give your time and your knowledge,” Palmer said. “Make yourself accessible to students and alumni—you never know what doors that may open for them.”