Alumni Spotlight: Tracy Coleman
Posted on November 23, 2021 by MCOB Outreach
For Tracy Coleman, the University of South Alabama has been a part of her life since
she was little. The Mobile native started her academic career at Troy University in
1980. Yet, after just a few years at Troy University, Coleman took a non-traditional
approach to education. Years later, seventeen to be exact, she graduated with a degree
in marketing— This time from South.
Unsure of what career path to pursue, Coleman changed universities, majors, jobs and homes multiple times. After transferring from Troy to South, Coleman put a pause on college and moved to New Orleans to start her career in insurance claims at Motors Insurance Corporation. During her time in New Orleans, she also worked at a department store and enrolled part-time in classes at the University of New Orleans, where she found her passion for Marketing. “I took a marketing class at the University of New Orleans and that's where I found my niche. So, when I came back to South, after 10 years, I decided that that's what I was going to be, and I did end up with a marketing degree eventually.” However, Coleman did not come back to Mobile right away. She first moved from New Orleans to Daytona, Florida and then Athens, Georgia, before finally returning home in 1995.
Back in Mobile, and now in her 30s, Coleman decided it was time to complete her degree. She still remembers the impact South's professors had on her, and even today in her job in Development, she can rely on what she has learned during her time at South.
Following graduation, Coleman tried various career paths before landing a job in the Development Office at the USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital in 2002. Just two years later, Coleman's promotion led her to the main South Alabama campus. While her job titles have changed over time, she pursued the optimal path toward her goals.
As the associate director of strategic initiatives for Development and Alumni Relations, she collaborates with the USA Annual Fund team, where she works with donors to receive gifts and funds. Coleman also manages the University's United Way campaign, whose main purpose is to support the broader South Alabama community.
After years of experience, Coleman’s advice for incoming students is to take the time you need to find your passion. “I hate to say this, but do what you want to do," she said. "Test things out. Look and see what really interests you; it's ok to change and it will take you some time to realize what you want.” She also realized that going back to school later in life can be beneficial for some, “I felt like I got so much more out of my education, I paid more attention, was more focused, and studied more.”
Today, Coleman has found her passion in philanthropy. Raising money to support a range of needs brings about a special feeling of motivation. “Whether I'm helping donors find their passion in giving to fund an incubator for the NICU or to fund scholarships for students in need, it motivates me and makes me feel good.”
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