Volunteer Spotlight: Greg Twaites, College of Science and Engineering Alumni Society

We talked with active alumnus and volunteer of the month Greg Twaites about his experience with the University and why he volunteers.


Q. What is your favorite experience as an Alumni Association volunteer?

A. Reconnecting with the University of Minnesota has been a great joy for me over the past decade. While I support the UofM financially, volunteering my time is by far the most rewarding way I give back to the university. I started as a member of the College of Science and Engineering Alumni Society (CSEAS) board and have served in all of the officer positions. As a past president, I support the membership committee recruiting new board members.

One of my more fun duties is being the liaison to the UMAA Collegiate Council. It is very interesting interacting with my counterparts in the other collegiate alumni societies, sharing the CSEAS experiences and getting useful and resourceful information from other alumni societies. The university is fortunate to have such a wealth of experienced and passionate volunteers. Most recently, I participated in a UMAA strategy session. While at this gathering, I reconnected with a friend from the dorm whom I hadn’t seen for over 30 years!

Q. Why do you volunteer?

A. Much of who I am can be traced back to the University of Minnesota and the experiences and lessons my time there presented me. I’ve been very fortunate in my life and career and I believe it is my duty to give back to the school and the community that supported me. There is a real sense of purpose and accomplishment doing something important for others.

Q. Why would you encourage others to volunteer?

A. Volunteering provides a way to provide others with a support structure to help them be successful. It makes our community healthy and more vibrant. It instills a sense of accomplishment for doing something, not because you are paid, but because it is the right thing to do.

Q. Share some alumni words of wisdom.

A. Start now – don’t wait for next month, next semester, next year!

Volunteering doesn’t have to be a big-time commitment. Start with whatever works for you and find small, impactful ways to support your University and fellow alumni.

Reconnecting with the university gives you a new appreciation for the treasure we have. You’ll discover a depth of richness you didn’t realize existed.

You will both reconnect with old friends (like I did with my former dorm mate) and meet many new friends.

More about Greg

I received my BS in Computer Science in 1985 from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology (forerunner to the College of Science and Engineering). After graduation, I married my high school sweetheart and moved to Phoenix Arizona. While in Arizona, both my wife and I attended grad school at Arizona State University where we received our MS and PhD degrees. I worked at a small startup company for several years, eventually ending up with Motorola’s satellite group. In 2001, Motorola sold the group to General Dynamics and I was able to transfer back to Minnesota (General Dynamics had purchased Control Data in Bloomington a few years earlier).

I am currently Director of Engineer for General Dynamics and an adjunct professor at the University of St Thomas. When not busy with engineering tasks, I volunteer on the board of directors for several organizations and play bass guitar with multiple jazz groups.

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