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Your Alumni Voice

Reunion, Goals of Alumni Relations, Alumni Council, Bates Presidents

By Michael Bosse ’93, Alumni Association President

Exciting and Promising

I write to you with good news about the Alumni Council and the Alumni Association. I have just returned from the fabulous Reunion 2002: 1,150 attendees from 11 classes who broke several attendance and Reunion gift records, amid bright sunny weather.

It was a great time, with fireworks, a lively parade, several dozen programs and presentations by alumni and faculty, and time to reconnect with classmates and friends. To the alumni, students, and staff who helped with Reunion, thank you for making it such a success!

These last two years have been an exciting and very promising time for Bates alumni. The College has made significant investments in increasing staff and budgets for Alumni Relations. The Alumni Council and the Alumni Relations staff have committed much time to ambitious plans for how Bates and its alumni can work together. Many offices and organizations that work with alumni—from Alumni Relations, Admissions, Career Services, Development, and Athletics, to the Trustees, the College Key, Bates Fund Committee, Career Advisors, and Bates Magazine Advisory Board—have all expressed interest in closer and more active and substantial relationships between alumni and the College. A lot of our efforts and resources in the next few years will be devoted to strengthening and expanding those relationships and having them serve both alumni and students.

This is a good occasion for us to look forward and consider some measured steps of change. Although we should be proud of the work we have done, our future holds even more promise. Let me share some examples of where we are headed.

Goals for Alumni Relations

As some may know, Bill Hiss ’66, vice president for external and alumni affairs, this past winter took a two-month professional leave during which he studied the alumni relations professional literature and the offices of peer colleges. With the support of the president and the new Trustee Committee on College and External Relations, the Alumni Relations office has worked with the Alumni Council, the Board of Trustees, and several other offices to establish a set of major goals for the next five years. These goals are ambitious and cannot be tackled all at once, but we are starting on several of them. They include the following:

  • double the number of actively involved alumni by 2005;
  • carefully focus on the basics of alumni relations work: Reunion, class communications, Bates Clubs around the world, and the ability to provide accurate information and advice quickly to alumni;
  • study, test, and understand how the College communicates with its alumni;
  • build student and young alumni involvement: implement alumni leadership training for students;
  • expand leadership opportunities for alumni;
  • build Reunion attendance by 10 percent per year to 2005-06;
  • develop a “one-team” approach across both staff and volunteer networks; build ties from volunteer networks to the Alumni Council and Trustees;
  • build alumni financial support of Bates to exceed midpoints for our peer group by 2005-06;
  • increase involvement of multicultural and international alumni with Bates;
  • implement at least one “outreach” tour a year to alumni: the president, faculty, student performing groups, and the like;
  • implement one major alumni on-campus event per year to bring alumni of significant achievement to campus.

We will continue to focus on these goals in the coming years. If you have comments on some of these goals or suggestions for other areas of focus for the Alumni Relations Office and the Council to consider, please let us know!

Structure of the Alumni Council

This fall, the Alumni Council will embark on a measured change to its structure with the goal of providing better representation to the alumni body. The council historically has self-selected its members for three-year terms. Beginning with our October meeting, the council will very gradually add new members, representing different areas of alumni involvement with the College, including Admissions, Career Services, the College Key, young alumni, and the like.

Over time, we intend the council to grow. Some members will still be elected, but some will be appointed to the council from various alumni groups. The result will be an Alumni Council more representative of the alumni body. To ease this transition, the Alumni Association approved a change to the association’s by-laws at Reunion, allowing for by-law amendments to be made more quickly than once a year at Reunion at the annual meeting of the Alumni Association. We will be moving forward on this initiative in the coming months, and we will report our progress to you.

Our Bates Presidents

Finally, Reunion marked the end of the truly historic presidency of Donald Harward. Many of you have been able to see Don and Ann over the past months, and to thank them for their wonderful legacy to Bates. Don and Ann came to Bates in 1989, my first year as a student, and their 13 years with us have been nothing short of remarkable. The Alumni Association cited them at Reunion for their extraordinary leadership and service to Bates. Don and Ann, thank you!

And to incoming President Elaine Tuttle Hansen, we pledge our loyalty, interest, involvement, and energies. We look forward to welcoming President Hansen on campus and at alumni gatherings in the months and years ahead.


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