Caldwell, who majored in business administration with a concentration in information technology while a student at Bluefield University, says he kept a tight schedule and worked a lot of hours after classes during his two years at BU, 2000-2002. And while admittedly he may not have been the most active student then, he’s making up for that now in his role as president of the Alumni Association.
“Most of my peers will remember me as working as a ‘sandwich artist’ at Subway for the two years I was there,” said Caldwell. “There were no awards or honors, just the degree that I hold so dear. My only real extracurricular activities were being a fictitious coach for the ‘Gerties’ during intramural flag football where I stood on the sidelines for a couple of games. However, it took nothing away from the quality education that I received and the deep personal relationships that I developed. I do feel like the opportunity that I have now in my role (as president of the Alumni Association) is giving me a chance to give back and be involved, unlike my time there.”
Under his leadership, the Alumni Association Board of Directors has improved its efficiency by narrowing its focus to a few specific projects each year, according to Joshua Grubb, BU’s director of alumni relations and the Annual Fund. As a result, the Association recently revived the New River Valley Regional Alumni Chapter and is in the process of developing three additional regional alumni chapters this year.
The Alumni Association also just recently created Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow (STAT), an organization of current BU students working together to strengthen the relationship with former BU students. Originally envisioned by Alumni Association past-president Jennifer Mitchell (’08), STAT is in its first year of existence on campus and already has 10 active members, thanks to Caldwell’s efforts to see Mitchell’s vision fulfilled.
“I admire Brandon because of his love for his alma mater, his desire to see it grow, and his willingness to give back his time, talents, and treasures consistently,” said Grubb. “He does all of this while also balancing a very full schedule with family, work, and involvement in his local community.”
A member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2014, Caldwell has also served as vice president for two years. As president now, his responsibilities include serving on various committees, such as the Nominating Committee, Alumni Awards Committee, By-laws Committee, and Homecoming Committee.
“I think that what I enjoy most about serving as Alumni Association president is getting to work closely with a new group of peers and fellow alum like me,” said Caldwell, “and meeting current students that will one day be alumni themselves. I also enjoy trying to fulfill the mission of the college on both a personal and professional level.”
Being Alumni Association president and an active participant at Bluefield University, Caldwell added, requires more than just writing emails and going to meetings. For example, he travels on behalf of the college to engage with past, present, and potential students. This includes attending BU Bound events, being a member of Team Dean Dan in the Monument Avenue 10K, participating in summer BU at the Ballpark alumni reunion events, and going back to campus to take part in Homecoming and Commencement activities. In addition, Caldwell gives back to his alma mater through annual events like BU Giving Day.
“I can only hope that my time serving as Alumni Association president has been effective,” said Caldwell. “I have seen the amount of work that our alumni directors put into their position, and I have also seen the amount of work that our Board puts into the Alumni Association. I have seen the early results from it, but I am eager to see what it will look like in the next five, 10 years, and beyond. I can only hope that we can look back on it and say ‘Yes, what we did changed lives.’”
Caldwell not only makes a difference in Bluefield but also in his community. He is the president of the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Clifton Forge Development Committee. He has also taught financial classes to the Roanoke Women’s Shelter and has given a financial seminar at an area high school in Covington.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in business from Bluefield University in 2002, Caldwell spent the first 10 years of his career at SunTrust Bank as a financial services representative, assistant branch manager, and branch manager. In 2013, he, his wife Kara, and their daughter Amelia moved to Clifton Forge where Caldwell made a career move to Highlands Community Bank. After holding various positions with Highlands, he was promoted to vice president and chief lender, a title which he still holds today.
Caldwell’s two-year term of service as president of the Alumni Association will end in November at Homecoming 2018. He will serve one more year on the Association’s Board of Directors as past president before rotating off the Board.
“Because I don’t think I got a chance to give during my time at Bluefield University, and because I value the college and what it is about so much, this (serving as Alumni Association president) has given me a chance to properly give back,” said Caldwell. “It has reconnected me with the college and with a lot of people that I had lost touch with over the past 10 years. Every time I step on that campus, I get a chance to relive what I experienced and what I learned, and that is worth every moment of the service I give.”