AlumKnights: A call to serve


Editor’s note: Lisa Spiller, Ph.D., is a 1982 alumna of the College of Engineering and Business and received her MBA from Gannon University in 1984. Lisa is a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient. Each year, Gannon recognizes outstanding alumni across all colleges at a reception during Homecoming Weekend. To find out more about this year’s Distinguished Alumni, go to
As you go through life you will find at every turn the invitation to volunteer — the opportunity to serve others. No matter what your major or profession, my advice to you is: DO IT! Service to others can be life-changing and some of the most worthwhile hours you’ll ever spend.
While you may start out volunteering to fulfil a membership requirement for your fraternity, sorority or student organization, my hope is that you’ll end up volunteering because you just plain want to. Because volunteering is good for the soul and giving back is what makes life worthwhile.
I’ve been volunteering my whole life — before, during and after my years at Gannon — and I can tell you, whatever you give will be returned to you tenfold.
Find something that you sincerely believe in, and your passion will make your service feel like a hobby. For example, as Catholics, my husband, who also graduated from Gannon, and I made the choice to send our three children to Catholic schools. Over the years, as a parent who also happened to be a college marketing professor, I was often asked to help with marketing-related school activities.
One thing always led to another and somehow I wound up spending more than a decade serving on three different Catholic school boards. During several of those years I had to travel more than an hour to attend the Diocesan school board meetings. That meant I couldn’t get back in town to taxi our kids to sports and activities after school, which meant that on occasion my husband, a busy physician, would have to alter his schedule to be able to play taxi. Juggling schedules is sometimes a necessity of volunteer service.
Keep in mind that when you’re called to serve, convenience shouldn’t be the guiding criteria that you use.
Step up to the plate and volunteer. By volunteering you are making connections in the community, building a network, strengthening relationships and friendships and gaining a reputation for your service. On top of that, your volunteer service activities can be listed on your resume and included in your cover letters when applying for internships and career positions.
So what are you waiting for? Volunteer now and volunteer often.

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