Michael DeVincentis ’75 Helps Connect Classmates Via The A-List
It can be difficult to stay in touch with former classmates after leaving college. Because of the efforts of Michael DeVincentis ’75, many Wilkes alumni from the classes of 1971 through 1979 have maintained strong relationships despite time and distance, reuniting at Homecoming and sharing updates on social media sites.
“Wilkes is a really special place because everyone hung out together,” says DeVincentis. “Your college friends are just the best.”
His efforts started more than 10years ago, when Michael looked through the alumni directory to see where his classmates ended up after graduation. The group of alumni, which has come to be known as the ‘A-List’ (short for the ‘Alumni List’), would gather at weddings and house parties, but DeVincentis realized there was a need to stay in touch on a more regular basis than just special occasions.
DeVincentis thought it would be fun to get everyone together for Homecoming 2005 and the group has been gathering each year since. He connected various alumni who graduated between 1971 and 1979 because both he and his brother, Tony DeVincentis ’79, graduated from Wilkes and many of the friendships overlapped between the class years.
Social media has played a vital communication role for the A-List. DeVincentis manages a Facebook page, a Flickr account and a Shutterfly account. There are currently about 150 members of the Facebook page, with about 35 of those members being actively engaged. The Flickr and Shutterfly accounts help DeVincentis to store and archive all of the photos from the yearbooks of 1971-1979. There are between 12,000 and 15,000 photos housed on the photo sharing websites. These accounts also help Michael reach out to those alumni who aren’t on Facebook, but would still like to be involved and connected to the group.
He also gives special birthday shout-outs on Facebook and through emails during each A-List member’s birthday week.
“The birthday shout-outs take a while,” he says. “I’m also a member of the American Greeting Cards website so that I can send personalized emails with birthday wishes.”
He spends at least 5 hours per week working on organizing photos, sharing information, sending birthday wishes and posting updates on Facebook.
“The friends I’ve made at Wilkes are so special to me,” says DeVincentis. “So, updating the Facebook page is not work because I love to do it and everyone appreciates it.”
Each year, he makes an effort to have everyone join in the Homecoming festivities by posting updates and encouraging everyone to stay in the same hotel.
“I always tell people, ‘Give us one chance. Come to Wilkes for Homecoming one time – we’ll have you hooked and you’ll be kicking yourself for all those years that you didn’t come,’” says DeVincentis. “I haven’t had one person tell me that they didn’t have a great time when they joined us for Homecoming.”
Michael DeVincentis ’75
Majors: history, sociology
Career: Electrical contractor
Favorite Wilkes memory: “I have so many Wilkes memories. Now, I just love getting together with all of my college friends.”