Soccer alumna named director of development

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Nicole Morsfield

Women’s soccer alumna Jenna Taylor returns to Oakland Athletics as director of development.

Bridget Janis, Features Editor

An Oakland University women’s soccer alumna ended up returning home to her roots here on campus.

From graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in management, Jenna Taylor plans to put that education to good use as she takes on a new role as OU’s director of development for Athletics.

“I think the end goal was always to come back,” Taylor said. “I loved Oakland when I was here. When I lost my senior year game, I came back to the soccer field and just literally laid in the middle of the soccer field because I knew my career was over.”

Taylor considered herself an overachiever when it came to her time at OU. She was a student athlete for the women’s soccer team from 2011-2014. She was also involved with student organizations such as being president of the Society of Scholars and the Oakland University American Marketing Association, a peer tutor, and vice president and a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

“I’m a very overachieving person — I wanted to be involved with whatever I could,” Taylor said. “I was a marketing intern my senior year, here in Athletics, that was the start of my inspiration to go into college athletics.”

Some of Taylor’s responsibilities as director of development are coordinating the Golden Grizzlies Champions Club, the yearly annual giving program at OU, and working to fundraise for the department.

One belief Taylor holds close to her heart is the strength of student athlete alumni. She would love to bring back the Oakland Varsity Association (Varsity O) program, and has the goal of bringing back alumni of all eras.

“Not just my own from 2011-2015, but where are the ’80s alumni, where are the ’70s alumni?” Taylor said. “So, trying to get the Pioneers and the Golden Grizzlies together in one alumni group.”

She also wants to emphasize a hall of honor event and many events specifically for sports.

“I just really believe in the power of alumni, I really do,” Taylor said. “So bringing back and connecting new coaches, old coaches, back to their alumni.”

Before coming to work for OU, Taylor gained experience to help her through two prior jobs. One job she held was being a student assistant for two years at Michigan State University’s Spartan Fund. The second is the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) in which she was a community relations coordinator. 

During her time at the Detroit PAL, she worked with many volunteers. At the end of her year, she ended up leaving with around 20 corporate contacts and over 200 personal volunteers she had connected with.

Even during her time at MSU, Taylor was always supporting OU and keeping up with the athletics teams.

“I’m a big Oakland supporter and that’s what brought me back here,” Taylor said. “When I saw the opportunity and it presented itself, I knew I wanted to be back here. I knew a position like development gave me an opportunity to find ways to support my fellow student athletes and my future student athletes.”