Volunteer Spotlight: Paul Portz, Dakota County Alumni Chapter

October 2017

PaulPortz_300 Q. What is your favorite experience as an Alumni Association volunteer?

A. My wife and I have had many favorite experiences through the Alumni Association and Dakota County Chapter. A recent favorite experience was organizing an outing to a Gopher men’s baseball game. Coach Anderson talked about the baseball program and answered our questions. We had 60 alumni attend the game, many of which had never been to a Gopher baseball game. It was a beautiful spring day on campus at the ballpark.

Q. Why do you volunteer? Why would you encourage others to volunteer?

A. When I started to volunteer with UMAA & DCC I met some great people who became good friends and we have done fun and worthwhile activities together. The friendships are a big reason why my wife and I continue to volunteer.

Q. Share some alumni words of wisdom.

A. When I went to the University I learned a phrase that applies to this day, “the more you put into something, the more you get out of it”. I feel that I have received a lot of benefit from belonging to UMAA and have enjoyed the activities that I have participated in.

Paul Portz is a 1969 graduate of the Carlson School of Management and is one of the founding board members of the Dakota County Chapter (DCC) of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. In 2015, he was elected as the chapter president. Paul had a 40 year career as a certified public accountant working in public accounting, industry and education. He is an honorary member of the American Institute of CPA and the Minnesota Society of CPA. Currently he is working his dream job – retirement. He plays golf in the summer, teaches an accounting class in the fall, and then spends the winter in Florida with his wife Carol.

Paul’s focus for the chapter is to support the University with activities that are interesting and fun for the members. Each year the chapter has a planning meeting where old and new programs are discussed and assigned to one of the eight board members who implement the activity.

DCC was created in 2003 and over the years has developed programs that are well received by our alum and so we do them each year. It is very satisfying when we meet alum and they ask about these events and what to make sure they are repeated.

One of our repeat programs is the University speaker series program which we have at the Mendota Heights City Hall. Word has gotten out about our University speakers and we not only get alum but also people from the general public to come and hear the speakers.

Another repeat program is awarding scholarships to deserving Dakota County high school students. DCC has awarded five scholarships to students who will be attending the University.

We feel that supporting athletic events is a popular way to involve alum and support the University. Over the years we have attended many athletic events. For the first time in 2016, we organized a chapter outing to a Gophers baseball game. At our annual planning meeting we discussed going to a baseball game and considered the Twins and the St. Paul Saints. However, we know that the purpose of our chapter is to support the University. So we decided to attend a Gopher baseball game. This was the first time we had gone to a Gopher baseball game and it was a great success. We had 59 alumni including spouses and kids. The Gopher staff gave us an excellent tour of the baseball stadium, the Bierman athletic facilities, and we could see the new student village being built. The highlight of the tour was going down into the dugout and having Coach John Anderson talk about Gopher baseball and answer questions.

Another new program for our chapter was a community service project at Thompson Lake in West St. Paul on November 5, 2016. We had a good turnout of 12 alumni who enjoyed the beautiful sunny 70 degree November day. Our task was to clean up debris in the lake and surrounding park area and we found a lot of stuff including an old car muffler, a sleeping bag, and lots of pop bottles and plastic bags. I think everyone had a good feeling from making a contribution to the community to make it a little bit better and cleaner.

DCC will continue the programs that support the University and are enjoyed by the alumni. We will also continue to grow by adding new board members and new programs.

Thanks to everyone in DCC and UMAA for their efforts to support the University of Minnesota.

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