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Thursday, December 13, 2018

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Perette Godwin Perette Godwin

Leading By Example

SDSU’s new alumni president has a history of involvement and sets a couple of precedents for the office as well.
By Tobin Vaughn

Having just begun her sixth year as a member of SDSU’s Alumni Board of Advisors, Perette Godwin (’86) is now president of the organization that will soon surpass 8,000 lifetime members and represents approximately 300,000 alumni.

At the June 18 board meeting, she was symbolically handed the president’s gavel by the board’s immediate past president, Elsa Romero (’97).

Godwin graduated from San Diego State University with a journalism degree and now works as senior community relations specialist for California Coast Credit Union. She is also a single mom to seven-year-old daughter, Nikki, and will be PTA president in the fall at the second-grader’s school. She is also serving as treasurer and cookie mom for Nikki’s Girl Scout Troop.

Then there’s her work on the board of the San Diego Music Foundation and all of her volunteer activities at SDSU including two-time emcee of the Alumni Association's Monty Awards.

Where does she find the time to do it all?

“It's about being organized,” Godwin said. “It's about making sure you're doing the most important things at that moment and being involved with San Diego State is very important to me."

A passion for engagement

As a student, Godwin was an ambassador and served on student government committees.

“I feel passionately that in order for us to make the most of what ever part of our lives that we are in, we need to be engaged,” she said.

The new president supports initiatives to reach out to alumni through social media and is pleased with engagement efforts taking place through texting, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mail. She encourages Aztec alumni to reconnect with the university and find some way to become involved, even if it’s just by making a campus visit after an absence of several years.

“I go to as many events as I can and I think that's important,” Godwin said. “I want to lead by example with that.

“I want to make sure I'm doing all I can to be a strong alumni member. That includes the company I work for looking at hiring Aztecs, looking at being a mentor, anything we can do to grow what's happening here at SDSU, I think, is really important."

Precedent-setting president

Godwin is the 78th individual to become the alumni leader since Vesta Muehleisen founded and was the first president of the San Diego State College Alumni Association in 1931. She is the first of the 15 women presidents to directly succeed another woman and is also the first African-American to hold the office.

Both are noteworthy precedents. While Godwin understands a certain social and historical significance can be attached to each, she emphasizes leadership as the bottom line.

"If I am cognizant of what other people are going to say, they're probably going to say, ‘It's about time,’” she said. “But in the scheme of things I don't worry about that so much.

“I don't mind being the first African-American and the first African-American woman to be in this position, but I hope people don't just see me for that. I hope they see me for someone who is passionate about this university and (who) believes strongly in supporting it and that's what I want to do."

She will spend the next year trying her best to enlist that support.

“In my world, every single person who attended San Diego State University needs to give back,” she said. “Whether that will ever happen or not I don't know, but I think they should.”