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University of Missouri

Still Growing Strong

New Mizzou Alumni Association chapters extend Mizzou’s reach across the country.

Jill Hammergren and Melissa Everitt

Jill Hammergren, left, and Melissa Everitt founded the Triangle Tigers chapter in Raleigh, North Carolina, in August 2014. Photo courtesy of Jill Hammergren.

Alumnae Jill Hammergren and Melissa Everitt are on a mission. As black-and-gold bastions in North Carolina’s research triangle, surrounded by North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina, the pair is raising Mizzou’s profile deep in the North Carolina Piedmont.

Hammergren, BJ ’88, who owns a media and marketing communication business, has been “carrying the Mizzou torch” in Raleigh for 20 years. After a few false starts establishing a Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) chapter, she was relieved when reinforcements came in summer 2014 in the form of Everitt, who inquired about starting a new chapter before she’d even unpacked.

Everitt, MA ’04, had worked in alumni relations in the School of Health Professions before moving to Raleigh to work in human resources. She knew how to find out how many alumni lived in the area — more than 800 — and how to form a chapter. MAA’s support for out-of-state chapters also helped.

In August 2014, they officially formed the Triangle Tigers chapter.

Hammergren, chapter president, has been encouraged by how many people have volunteered for leadership roles. “The most impressive thing is the cohesion forming — we’ve got a good board and a lot of people interested,” she says.

Growing up in Nebraska, Everitt didn’t know about out-of-state options when she chose a college for her bachelor’s degree. As a graduate student at Mizzou, she found what she had been looking for years before. She sees the chapter’s role as being a voice to local students like her: “You don’t have to go to Carolina, you don’t have to go to State and we can help you with out-of-state scholarships,” she says. “The more we do, the more exposure we can give [Mizzou].”