As a student, Annette (Meek) Slater, ’87, was involved in every performance ensemble the music department had to offer. “I just loved the experience, the closeness we got with our professors and the other students,” said Annette, who’s been teaching music and directing ensembles for 31 years, currently at Northwood in suburban Toledo. Now, Annette has stepped forward to direct a different kind of ensemble – northwest Ohio alumni. She figures when you hold something dear and you have a chance to pass it on, you jump on it.
As the mom of two Heidelberg sons – one biological and one “adopted”– she says the timing is right to step into this new leadership role with the Northwest Ohio Alumni Chapter as a way to give back to her alma mater.
“There are lots of Heidelberg alumni from Sandusky west to the border of Indiana, north into Michigan and south as far as Lima. We just need to get them involved. I hope I can help create that spark,” Annette says.
Taking a cue from successful Northeast Ohio Alumni Chapter events, which she has attended to meet up with her ‘Berg friends, she adds, “There’s no reason for us to have to drive two hours just to get together!”
There’s more to being engaged in a chapter, beyond reconnecting with other alums and celebrating the Heidelberg roots that bind them. For Annette, who is a member of the Philalethean Society, it’s about giving back, setting an example for the current generation of students – including her boys – and continuing a legacy.
“As a northwest Ohio unit, this is something we can do to keep Heidelberg thriving,” she says.
She’s working with the Office of Alumni Engagement to plan the Northwest Ohio Alumni Chapter’s first event – a gathering at a Toledo Walleyes hockey game on January 26.
With her teaching career winding down, Annette says she now has time to devote to giving back and a bonus to being on campus is spending time with her son, Scott, an exercise science major, and Scott’s friend and the Slaters’ adopted son, Branden Short.
Branden, who’s majoring in education, and Scott met their first year on campus and became friends. After a year, Scott transferred and Branden was forced to leave for financial reasons. He had no place to live, so the Slater family – which also includes Annette’s husband, Duncan, and daughter, Holly – took him into their home in Oregon, Ohio, and embraced him as one of their own. “He’s lived with us ever since,” Annette says. “I call them both my sons. They’re both my boys.”
Both Scott and Branden returned to Heidelberg this fall, which was “super exciting” for their mom. Both play football, and Annette rarely misses a game at home or on the road.
Just as there was no hesitation taking Branden in, neither was there any question that Annette would eventually pass on her legacy by becoming engaged at Heidelberg.
“Because of the long-term friendships and connections that developed through Heidelberg are so important to me … I just feel like it’s my turn,” she says. “I’m ecstatic to get involved.”
Alumni interested in coming on board to help Annette organize the Northwest Ohio Alumni Chapter and plan events can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.