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Emerson College recently distributed an online survey to all alumni to better understand how they view and consume information about the College, as well as the strengths and interests of Emersonians around the world. While the full data are still being analyzed, here’s a summary of what we’ve heard so far…

  • Emerson College’s top strengths are its location in Boston, and as the place where students were free to be their authentic selves and accomplish what excites them.  
  • Lion pride is strong! 81% of alumni are proud to be an Emerson alum. 
  • Alumni across all decades describe Emerson community members as creative, artistic, passionate, expressive, and motivated.  
  • Emersonians are proud to be storytellers using all types of media that influence audiences.  
  • Emersonians want to make a difference in the world and want Emerson to do the same.  
  • More than half of alumni believe Emerson is best suited to make a positive impact on society by addressing representation in arts, entertainment, and communication along with LGBTQIA+ rights. 
  • Alumni are interested in professional networking events, lectures by notable industry experts, professional development, and mentoring opportunities.  
  • The main reason alumni donate to Emerson is they want to make a difference in the world—they want to pay it forward to create an opportunity for someone else. Older alumni are more likely to donate, as they’re further along in their careers. More than half of alumni who graduated in the 1970s or earlier donated recently to the College. Comparatively, only 21% of students who graduated in the 2000s have donated recently. 

Along with compliments, participants offered some critique. 

  • Most participants said Emerson prepared them for their careers; however, some feel they gained the most experience from extracurricular activities—not classes. Other alumni would like Emerson to provide more resources on how to get a job after graduation.  
  • Older alumni said they want to hear about alumni stories, accomplishments, and the future direction of Emerson. But recent alumni said they want to hear more about career and professional services in their fields of study.  
  • While some alumni found Emerson to be inclusive with a strong commitment to social justice, many alumni also felt that Emerson needed to do more in this regard. 
  • Survey respondents expressed they want the school to do more to support students with scholarships and other types of aid, such as the Office of Student Success. They also want to see additional efforts to diversify the College and make an Emerson education more accessible to those of all backgrounds. 
  • Some alumni stated they mainly hear from the College when they’re asked to donate, rather than with ways in which Emerson can support them. 

Who Took the Survey? 

2,332 Alumni | 7.7% Response Rate 

Current Field
32% Marketing, Media, Communication
25% Education
22% Film/TV
15% Literary
10% Business
9% Art and Design
8% Health
8% Theatre
4% Government/Public Administration
3% Law and Public Policy
Less than 1% Military and Protective Services
16% Other

59% Women
36% Men
3% Non-Binary
2% Self-describe
1% N/A

Generation Status
28% First-generation college student

83% White
6% Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish
5% Asian
4% Black or African American
1% Middle Eastern or North African
Less than 1% American Indian or Alaska Native
Less than 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2% Another race or ethnicity
4% No Answer

*Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding or respondents falling into multiple categories. 

Did You Know? 

We heard you! And, we’re using this survey data to inform our programming for, and communication to, alumni. In the meantime, did you know that…  

Emerge is a new online community where Emerson alumni connect with one another for career conversations; professional development; and the opportunity to find, or be, a mentor. Industry and interest groups within Emerge, including journalism, entertainment, first-generation, and more, provide smaller forums for alumni and students to share their experiences and advice. 

Several avenues for financial support for students exist, including the Student Assistance Fund through the Office of Student Success, which helps students make a film, purchase books, get their graduation cap and gown, and more. 

Two scholarships, the Norman Lear Scholarship and Mary Burrill Scholarship for Diversity, focus specifically on making an Emerson education more accessible to all. 

The newly established Mike Brown Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the beloved professor, will support students from historically underserved and underrepresented backgrounds with financial need. Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder Sam Presti  ’00 and his wife, Shannon, gave an initial gift to create the fund. 

The College recently partnered with Beyond Racial Equity to identify structural and systemic barriers that prevent BIPOC students and students from other marginalized groups from experiencing a sense of belonging and full participation at Emerson.  

In June 2021, Emerson celebrated our LGBTQIA+ folx with the Emerson Pride Campaign with a plethora of events. The campaign also raised money for the newly created Emerson Pride Fund, which supports people, programs, and organizations that serve our LGBTQIA+ community.       

Alumni can stay connected to the College in several ways and on several platforms, including the Making It Big in 30 Minutes podcast with Terri Trespicio, MFA ’02; the Emerson Alumni Pinterest @emersonalumni account; and on Instagram at @emersonalumni. 

Learn more about these and other initiatives at

CategoriesFall 2021 News