Your Voice

Alumni Council news and doings.

By Michael Bosse ’93, Alumni Association president

As I finish my term as president of the Alumni Association and turn over the Alumni Council leadership to President Neil Jamieson Jr. ’82 and Vice President Barbara Raths ’96, I would like to look back at some accomplishments for Bates alumni and forward to the goals ahead.

Bates’ future institutional success depends on building relationships with alumni. Recognizing this fact, the College has made major commitments to increasing efforts and resources for alumni. For example, alumni event programming has seen a dramatic increase: During 1995-96, Bates sponsored 56 alumni events, while during 2002-03 Bates will offer about 150.

In New York City within the last month, three recent Bates gatherings symbolize a growing trend in Bates programming: events that support specific alumni interests and commitments. The College supported a “Bates Business Network”; a Colby-Bates-Bowdoin dinner for multicultural and international alumni; and a musical salon with Bates student musicians at the apartment of Trustee David Foster ’77.

Bates debaters went on a national tour during Short Term, sometimes debating other colleges, sometimes taking on Bates alumni. Recent Crosstones graduates had a musical reunion, and ’70s and ’80s club hockey players returned for a spirited game and dinner. All of these are signs of major changes and new energies in alumni involvement with Bates.

Parallel successes with fund raising — especially from Trustees, young alumni, and parents — have led to some major changes and increased resources for the future. A recent $1-million anonymous gift creates scholarships to honor the career of the late Professor of Rhetoric Robert Branham. Bates has improved alumni publications, developed a strong Web site, won national attention for graphic design, and has brought up the monthly electronic newsletter BatesNews, which now goes to more than 10,000 alumni and parents. BatesNet, the online alumni directory, allows alumni to maintain their own records, perform searches for friends and classmates, and network with alumni who share geographic location, careers, or interests. [Note: BatesNet services have been folded into the Bates Alumni Community.]

Alumni efforts also benefit students through increased alumni presentations on campus, alumni-sponsored career internships, and training for students to become active and effective graduates.

New Alumni Structure

To draw on this momentum, President Hansen and the Trustees have created a new division, effective July 1, that brings all alumni work under one structure. This new division unifies the College’s alumni, fund-raising, and communications efforts and will be headed by Vicky Devlin as vice president for advancement. Such a model is the prevalent structure in higher education today and will bring a more efficient and organized use of College resources.

As part of this initiative, President Hansen has asked Bill Hiss ’66 to join the President’s Office, where he will work directly for her with alumni, parents, and other constituencies. He will assume media-development and government relations duties and continue to supervise the Office of Career Services, working with Bates alumni and parents to provide internships or jobs for students and alumni.

Future Work

Alumni Council goals through the College’s 2005-06 sesquicentennial include doubling the number of actively involved alumni; researching how the College communicates with its alumni; building a student-to-alumni leadership-training program; building alumni financial support of Bates to exceed midpoints for our peer group by 2005-6; increasing the involvement of multicultural and international alumni with Bates; and implementing outreach tours to alumni from the President, faculty, or student performing groups.

The Alumni Council also continues its work on two particular projects: developing more connections between the council and other Bates alumni volunteer groups and finding a more effective way to choose alumni Trustees.

We have made solid and sometimes dramatic starts with all these goals. As President Hansen recently said as she addressed the Bates staffers who work with alumni, “Our mission is to bring alumni work front and center at Bates, giving this work highest priority, and seeking the kind of excellence that we enjoy in many other departments of the College.”

Members of the Alumni Council are grateful for your interest and support of Bates. On a personal note, I am extremely thankful for the seven years I have served on the Alumni Council, the last two as president. The incoming leadership of Neil Jamieson Jr. and Barbara Raths will serve our alumni body well. Please continue to share your thoughts and advice with us, and we encourage you to make Bates a beneficiary of your time, ideas, and commitment.