Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Scott Gaier

Third Advisor

Todd Ream


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of traditions culture on alumni involvement and meaning making. Through a transcendental phenomenological design, his study investigated traditions at a small, faith-based, liberal arts institution in the Midwest from the perspective of alumni. This exploratory research was guided by the following questions: How have traditions impacted the meaning alumni made of their college experience and their personal identity? How do traditions influence the current involvement of alumni with their institution? Key findings from this study include an understanding of traditions defined from an alumni perspective, the benefits alumni perceive from engaging traditions, relationships between continued alumni involvement and traditions, and a rich description of meaning alumni derived from involvement with traditions. Alumni described the essence of traditions as aspects of culture, which are “transmitted,” “engaged,” “continuous,” and “unifying.” The research produced an increased understanding of campus traditions and informed practitioners to encourage involvement in traditions, cautiously intervene with traditions, remain mindful of alumni as part of the campus communities, and view traditions as a developmental opportunity or the alumni community. Campus traditions shape individuals throughout their lives.