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Marketing graduate makes great strides as chair of FSU Alumni Association National Board

Craig_LynchSince taking the helm as chair of the FSU Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors in June, alumnus Craig Lynch says he and his fellow board members have been “laser focused” on the organization’s “moonshot” initiative to increase membership. The marketing major is well-suited for the challenge.

After graduating summa cum laude in 1981, Lynch went to work for Ford Motor Co. as a business analyst and zone manager before earning a law degree in 1986. Today, he is a partner and a board of directors member in the Charlotte office of Parker Poe, one of the Carolinas’ five largest law firms, where he specializes in commercial real estate law. He spends much of his free time leading FSU’s 38-member alumni association board, which includes 12 other business graduates.

“Craig has a vision of the alumni association becoming a self-sustaining organization, and that has resulted in a focused, yet big-picture, approach to moving our organization forward,” said Scott Atwell, president and CEO of the 26,000-member association. “Increasing membership will bring in important revenue while also creating synergy to lift other parts of the organization.”

Lynch says he wants to ensure the number of association members is commensurate with the size of the university and its ranking, and that the quality of benefits the organization can offer its members is equal to the quality of the FSU education they received. He wants the organization to become increasingly important in the lives of FSU’s alumni.

Lynch is well-versed in target marketing, messaging and branding, which comes in handy for the job at hand. A major component of his strategy to grow membership is targeting recent FSU graduates, who make up about 40 percent of the university’s approximately 340,000 alumni.

“The younger graduates don’t live in the same space as someone who graduated in the 1960s, so we have to make sure we’re reaching out to them in the most effective way, which includes social media,” Lynch said. “The message we want to send is that membership brings robust, tangible benefits our alumni can use to further their careers and that the benefits are relevant to their lives. I think we have a great game plan to move the needle and are moving into the implementation stage.”

A lifetime member of the FSU Alumni Association, Lynch became involved in the organization when he was appointed to its national board in 2011. He rose quickly though the leadership ranks in the organization. He also is a member of the FSU Foundation’s Presidents Club and Seminole Boosters. He is an active member and three-time president of the Charlotte Seminole Club®, and last year was inducted into the university’s prestigious Circle of Gold, which recognizes individuals who personify the university’s tradition of excellence through their service and achievements.

Lynch also has received recognition beyond FSU. He was named to Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers, North Carolina Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America by Woodward/White. He received the 2013 North Carolina Bar Association’s Citizen Lawyer Award for exemplary public service to the Charlotte community. Vice chair of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Board of Directors, he received the Hope Award, the highest honor bestowed by the organization. He also served as president of the Alumni Association of the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Lynch says the relationships he developed during his school years have been among the most rewarding and treasured parts of his life. He is especially grateful for a directed study project he was assigned by his marketing professor, Richard Baker, to help the director of sports marketing and promotion produce a marketing plan for the FSU basketball program, which was relocating from Tully Gymnasium to the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in 1981. He calls it his most fulfilling accomplishment as an FSU student.

“My time at the College of Business provided the practical background in real estate that has helped me become successful,” Lynch said. “As a result, I felt a huge sense of gratitude and duty to volunteer as payback for the invaluable skills and tools I was provided by my alma mater that enabled me to pursue my chosen career.” 

By Barbara Ash

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