April 15, 2023

Lillian Jackson

“Volunteering is very special; it is even more so when your team includes fellow NYU alumni,” says Lillian Jackson (SPS ’90) [she/her], a founding member of the NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA), who has been serving the University community for more than three decades.

Lillian has held numerous titles and positions in her life—in both corporate and nonprofit environments. While her work outside of NYU has spanned different industries, her commitment to helping others has remained consistent. Since graduating, she has been involved in NYU’s First Class Mentorship Program; the NYUAA Fundraising, Communications & Marketing, and Recent Alumni and Student Programming Committees; the Multicultural Alumni Network; the NYU Women’s Initiative; the SPS Alumni Association; and countless other projects and groups.

Read more about how and why Lillian loves the many facets of her volunteer work, her fond NYU memories, her involvement with our annual Global Days of Service (taking place April 22–May 2), and much more.

Meet Lillian:

How did you first become involved as an NYU alumni volunteer?  

While I was a student at NYU’s School of Professional Studies (SPS), members of the NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA) had events to inform future alumni about the NYUAA, which is the umbrella organization for all University alumni from every school. During those events, the alumni let students know the mission of the NYUAA was to connect all alumni through communication, programs, services, and volunteer opportunities. So, when I was appointed to the NYUAA Board, I felt I would be welcomed there.

Can you share a little bit about your involvement with Global Days of Service?

Global Days of Service provide NYU alumni worldwide opportunities to sign up and give their time and/or service to help the underserved. If alumni are unable to physically take part in events, they can donate to one of our online drives.

In past years, I have participated in numerous projects, including volunteering with other NYU alumni, family, and friends at soup kitchens, helping prepare meals at a women’s center, and donating goods. This year, I am volunteering as a project captain to help students with their resumes.

Why do you give back to NYU?

I know some of our NYU students have interrupted their sleep, wondering if they can pay their tuition while addressing their other needs. Since I went to school at night, my employer paid for 99% of my NYU tuition, including my time spent with other NYU students at Oxford University for science summer studies. My tuition remission was a great gift allowing me to be free of the large loans many students must repay these days. So, I give back to help with student scholarships and related funds for students.

Lillian Jackson at an alumni dinner

What’s your proudest (or most fun) moment as an alumni volunteer?

For years, I have enjoyed interacting with others during Alumni and Parents Weekend. I would introduce myself and ask about their school and year of graduation. Very often, when I see them again that day or even at another event, they say “I remember you,” and we renew our conversation.

What is something your fellow alumni would be surprised to know about you?

My fellow alumni would be surprised to know that over the years since I graduated in 1990, I have stayed in touch with nine School of Professional Studies (SPS) alumni that I have met at different events and gatherings. After a while, we began to see one another at SPS Alumni Weekend lunches and even had assigned seating together. Now, we send group emails so that everyone can learn about the well-being of the others in our group. Sometimes we say we must get together, and when we finally do, I think our chat will be all about NYU SPS! 

Lillian with SPS Dean Angie Kamath and SPS Alumni Director Tim Valentine

Lillian with SPS Dean Angie Kamath and SPS Alumni Director Tim Valentine

What is your favorite NYU memory?

I enjoyed participating in the special events and seasonal socials that took place in the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium (in the Loeb Student Center where the Kimmel Center now stands). During that time, students and teachers came together for entertainment and fellowship. I like remembering those simple days when you knew most of the people in the room, and all you had to do was wave.

What is your favorite:

  • Food? I enjoy a fresh, green salad without cheese, and dressing on the side.
  • Book? Currently, I am learning ASL a little bit at a time from a paperback book called Communicating in Sign by Diane P. Chambers
  • TV Show and/or Movie? The PBS Newshour and The Evening News Analysis
  • Song and/or Musical Artist? I enjoy a variety of musical genres. At times, music can be therapeutic to my inner spirit.
  • Way to spend a Saturday? On Saturday afternoons, I enjoy a long walk in New York City and having a late lunch. 
  • Place to travel? I would love to go to the British West Indies again.
  • Place on the NYU campus? The Washington Square Park and Arch location represents lots of great memories on campus. The greatest memory is when I graduated in Washington Square Park; all of the graduates from every school and college converged down the street from different directions into the park. It was a magnificent sight and a great feeling.