Ray Mock, his wife, Jill, and their children (Christopher, Laura and Sean) all fell in love with Miami through the years.
Ray Mock, his wife, Jill, and their children (Christopher, Laura and Sean) all fell in love with Miami through the years.

Ray Mock reflects on circles, connections and career

Ray and his wife Jill.

Ray Mock and his wife, Jill, center, were touched when the Alumni Association honored Jill, who graduated from another university, as an official Miami alumna and member of the alumni association.

By Carole Johnson, university news and communications

The late alumnus John Dolibois, who started Miami’s alumni program and later became vice president for university relations at Miami, wrote about his life as a pattern of circles. Ray Mock understands.

Mock, who retires this month as the Alumni Association’s assistant vice president and executive director, looks back at his years at Miami and sees that pattern of circles.

“It’s just like John described in his book (Pattern of Circles, An Ambassador’s Story),” Mock said. “There are patterns and forces that years later point to a higher mission. We’re connected by a pattern of circles.”

For Mock, the pattern of circles can be seen in people like Bill Hanger, a mentor from long ago. The then-director of institutional relations helped him find his way in 1986 when Mock accepted his first full-time position with the association. Recently, the two connected again when Hanger called to let Mock know that his daughter and granddaughter would be attending freshman orientation.

Mock’s career began when he was a graduate student and interned with the association at the encouragement of Ken McDiffett, then the chair of the educational leadership department.

During his tenure, the association has grown from 70,000 alumni members to 215,000. He’s worked most jobs within the association, including his first roles as director of the Miami University Student Foundation and the coordinator for Senior Challenge. In 2000, after a national search, Mock was named director.

Q: Where do you get your passion for the job you do?

A: It goes back to the very beginning, when I fell in love with the campus. It comes from experiences as an undergraduate and then as graduate student. It’s been heavily influenced by the people — the faculty, the staff all across campus, people who cared about me as an individual. The Miami family grew within me as this is a special place.

Q: Who were some of those influencers?

A: There are so many, but Ken McDiffett; Mike Macechko, who hired Mock (Mike’s son, Mark, currently works for the alumni association); Dave Roberts of physical facilities; and Don Revelee of trucking and special events (Revelee’s son, Sy, works for physical facilities). I learned that you can build relationships, call the right person, and they just get the job done.

Q: What does Love and Honor mean to you?

A: It captures that Miami experience that no other phrase can. It expresses our love for this institution and our desire to honor it in the way we live our lives. Funny thing, we tried the phrase out with focus groups in 2003, and they didn’t like it. But, then in 2009, during Miami’s bicentennial and during the Campaign for Love and Honor all of sudden, people were signing our event guest books writing the message, “Love and Honor.”

Q: What are some of your career home runs that stand out?

A: The Miami Merger Guinness World Record event. Alumni Weekends. They are successful because of all the people across campus who pitch in to make them special. (Read why the Miami Merger event might not have happened.)

On a more personal level, all three of my children attended Miami. It’s been neat to watch each of them develop a relationship with Miami and fall in love. I was also touched when Jill, my wife, was given alumni honors and official membership recently.

Oh, and another home run: I worked with or got to know seven presidents and outstanding leaders: John Millett (who taught me in graduate school), Phillip Shriver, Paul Pearson, Paul Risser, Jim Garland, David Hodge and Greg Crawford.

Q: What’s next?

A: I’m not sure, but I do know I want to work with my friends and colleagues as I extend my circle to incorporate more volunteer work.

An open house

The Alumni Association is hosting a public open house reception 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, in the Heritage Room. All are welcome.