Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Chrystal George Mwangi

Subject Categories

Higher Education


At the same time institutions and advancement offices are struggling to effectively engage recent graduates who are essential to the health and longevity of the engagement and philanthropy pipeline, public institutions are attempting to constrain rising college costs that threaten quality and accessibility. A large and ongoing contributing factor to increased college costs is reduced state funding for higher education that remains below historic levels. Given the current environment of declining numbers of new donors, the funding challenges that face higher education, and recent graduate motivations to participate in cause-based philanthropy, political advocacy may be one approach that can effectively engage recent graduates in meaningful ways that align with their capacity and inclination. It may also serve as a way to set recent graduates on a positive trajectory for a lifetime of engagement and giving, thus enabling them to help their alma mater address critical needs now and in the future.

The purpose of this study was to explore how recent (up to 10 years since graduation) undergraduate alumni from the University of Massachusetts Amherst perceive and/or engage in alumni advocacy efforts. Using a constructivist grounded theory design to understand the unique, lived experiences of individuals and the meaning made from them, this qualitative study proposes a substantive theory to inform future scholarship and practice regarding how recent graduates may be inclined and able to engage in alumni advocacy efforts. Such participation is valuable as it may assist to sustain high quality educational offerings that serve students, institutions, and society while also assisting recent graduates to define their role as alumni and establish a strong foundation for a lifetime of engagement and giving.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.