Founding AVAC Officers Build Strong Foundation

Friday, April 19, 2013

With newly elected officers replacing them, the founders of the Westminster Audio Visual Alumni Council (AVAC) leave their offices with a massive amount of accomplishments, earning them high praise and heartfelt gratitude. Thanks to their time and effort, over 20 years of Westminster alumni who worked in the Audio Visual department have additional avenues to network and celebrate their Westminster experiences with current staff members and the Westminster community.

Founding officers include:

  • Michael Miller ('97), President
  • Gabe Buckley Dean ('01), Vice President
  • Betsy Nolan Sieg ('07), Secretary
  • William "BJ" Sieg ('06), Treasurer
  • Heather ¬†MacKenzie ('09), Membership Coordinator
  • Kelly Matune ('13), Student Liaison

The AVAC was formed in 2009 after years of discussions between current and past student employees. As the "AV family" grew, it became clear that further involvement beyond the AV Director, Gary Swanson, was appropriate. Swanson, Sieg and others employees at that time wanted to develop a group that would take an invested role in (1) maintaining communication between the department and its alumni, (2) helping develop an annual departmental newsletter, and (3) assisting with the coordination of networking opportunities for AV alumni and current employees.

"The AVAC mission statement is really the foundation of this organization for years to come. Keeping the past connected, supporting the present, and looking towards the future sums up everything the council members discussed in our first meeting on April 22, 2009," said Miller. "When I look at that statement, where we had to start, and what we have been able to accomplish over the past four years, it clearly exceeds any expectations that I had."

Since its founding, the events and participation of the council and membership have grown significantly. Traditions such as the annual AVAC Homecoming Tailgate, celebrated in conjunction with Westminster's Homecoming celebration, brings individuals from various graduating classes together around food, football and friends. This event now features a chili cook-off for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

"It's a large group of fabulous folks," said Swanson. "It is so fun to see the connections develop across decades, and their ongoing dedication to helping others is something I find humbling. I know the entire AVAC membership joins me in applauding what the founding officers have built, and we are forever indebted for their contributions."

Westminster College's Audio Visual department provides an engaging environment for personal growth and training, where they consistently provide professional services to the academic community, further fortifying their student workers for future endeavors. The AVAC's coordination of network opportunities for current members to connect with past ones, who are well aware of the skills that student workers leave both AV and Westminster with, further enhances the spectacular services provided by the college's Alumni and Career Center offices, and has made for many helpful career and life contacts for the department's staff.

For more information, please contact AV Director, Gary Swanson, at (724) 946-7188 or

Contributed by Emily Moorhead, AV Assistant Public Relations Manager.

Click image to enlarge.
Founding officers Sieg, Miller, Dean, and Matune at a recent gathering.