New alumni leader sings his alma mater’s praises
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – (Sept. 23, 2011) -- Attend a UMES gathering where singing the alma mater is part of the festivities and chances are that if Paul S. Trotter is there, he is among the most enthusiastic vocalists in the room.
Paul S. Trotter Sr.
Trotter, who earlier this year became the university’s alumni association president, has a good reason.
The man who wrote the school song – the Rev. Daniel Lyman Ridout Sr. – presided over Trotter’s wedding. The minister, a 1918 graduate of the university when it was known as Princess Anne Academy, also happens to be the grandfather of Trotter’s wife, D’anna, a graduate of St. Augustine College in Raleigh, N.C.
It’s one of those “Six Degrees of Separation” links at UMES that make it a special place.
At a “heritage day” luncheon Sept. 10 that was part of 2011 Founders’ Week, Trotter proudly introduced his father-in-law, Ridout’s son, as well as the pastor’s grandson – both namesakes.
“This young man had a vision,” Trotter said of the eldest Ridout. “He saw greater than we could see here today.”
Trotter earned his bachelor’s degree in math in 1974 from UMES, where he also was an all-conference pitcher on the Hawk baseball team. He is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
He went on to do graduate work in meteorology at Penn State University, then landed a job with the National Weather Service.
His list of jobs he held with the federal agency is long and impressive. One assignment sticks out: Trotter was “meteorologist in charge” at the New Orleans office when Hurricane Katrina came ashore in 2005.
“It was the most challenging period of my (35-year) career,”” Trotter said. “Everybody felt totally helpless.’
Trotter, 59, lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., which puts him within a half-day’s drive of many UMES alumni who call the mid-Atlantic region home. Now retired, he estimates he spends 20 hours a week on alumni leadership business.
“More than I anticipated, I can tell you,” he said.
Trotter waded into the association’s leadership pool because “I saw a need. This school gave me so much,” the Wilmington, Del. native said.
“I felt it was important to show the graduates coming along now that it’s OK – and rewarding – to be involved with the university after you get your degree,” Trotter said.
Every alumni leader says a goal is building membership and Trotter is no different. Alumni he hears from also are watching the search for a new leader for their alma mater.
The topic he hears them bring up the most often? “Bring back football,” he said.
Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, firstname.lastname@example.org.