On Wednesday 26 April,
Ms J.J. (Tienke) Koning has been appointed Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau. Mayor P.E.J. Den Oudsten of the Municipality of Groningen presented the decoration in the Groningen Town Hall.
As head of the Department of Alumni Relations & Fundraising (A&F) of the University of Groningen (UG) and director of the Ubbo Emmius Fonds (UEF), Tienke Koning (Groningen, 1950) has played a significant and indispensable role in positioning the UG and the UEF in the Netherlands and abroad, working on this with seemingly boundless energy.
Koning implemented the UG’s alumni policy in an impressive manner, developing the most innovative fundraising methods. Alumni circles that support special research projects are a practical example of how she managed to link alumni relations with fundraising. Through her enormous drive and enthusiasm, the UEF has become an important pillar of the UG’s success. Significant funds were raised during her time as director of the UEF.
When Koning became head of A&F it had a staff of four and passive contact with a group of some 80,000 alumni. Contact was mainly via the quarterly magazine Broerstraat 5. Under her leadership the department grew significantly, enabling it to maintain specific and active contact with the UG’s alumni.
Koning established various alumni circles in the Netherlands and abroad. These circles regularly adopt special UG research projects, for which they provide financial support. One circle supports fundamental research into Alzheimer’s Disease, for instance. Such examples give an enormous boost to the careers of several young researchers at the UG and the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). The Groningen concept of alumni circles is unique in the Dutch academic world and has even received international recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), in the form of a Bronze Award in the category Fundraising Programs. The photo book ‘Album Amicorum’, which was created at the initiative of the UEF and is presented to all graduates of the UG, won a Gold Award from CASE.
The alumni circles abroad also help strengthen the relationship between alumni and the UG. In recent years Koning led the way in establishing contacts with alumni abroad. There are circles in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Jarkarta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Zurich, Berlin and Brussels. Thanks to her continuous efforts and persistence, the circles abroad, whose prime focus is networking with and between alumni, have become a calling card of the UG.
The main focus of the UEF is to raise funds for special research and teaching projects at the UG. Alumni play a key role here. All funds raised by the UEF go towards the specific goal or project for which they have been raised. As head of A&F and director of the UEF Koning worked day and night – literally – on alumni relations and fundraising for the UG. Her enthusiasm and perseverance have inspired scores of alumni to donate to the UEF. She had grasped that universities would not be able to survive in future without the financial support of alumni and she thus inspired alumni all over the world to help. She conveyed this message with verve and many have not only contributed financially but also personally to the UEF. Her intensive relationships with movers and shakers in the world outside the UG enabled her to bring that world to the UG.
Koning retired as head of the department of A&F and director of the UEF on 1 September 2015. At the express wish of the Board of the University she spends two days a week working as relations manager for the UEF. She again does this work with great zeal, often devoting four days a week to it. Here too she has proven herself to be indefatigable and persistent, an inspired and creative soul who does not hesitate to contact anyone she believes could make a financial contribution to the UG. Koning also hold various voluntary posts. She has been involved with Apenheul for decades and sits on the Supervisory Board of ROC Aventus, also in Apeldoorn. These organizations too benefit from her unbridled efforts, energy and network.
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