January 2009 Meeting Summary
To: Alumni Council Members and Friends of Colgate
From: Ron Joyce, President, The Colgate Alumni Council
Subject: Winter 2009 Meeting Recap
The Alumni Council welcomed nearly 50 members, several invited Colgate volunteers, and dozens of Real World alumni participants to its winter meeting in Hamilton. The Council also welcomed Tim Mansfield, the new Director of Alumni Affairs, second in command to Ruth Ann Loveless, Vice President and Executive Secretary of the Alumni Corporation. Tim previously served Colgate as an Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Greek Life. He is experienced, Colgate knowledgeable, and a strong professional who will be a new leader in advancing the ambitions of the Alumni Affairs programs.
The Awards Committee completed its tasks of recommending exemplary candidates in several categories: The Brian Little ‘64 Distinguished Alumni Awards; Maroon Citations; the Ann Yao ‘80 Memorial Young Alumni Award; the Humanitarian Award; and the Distinguished Teaching Awards. The full Council voted to approve these awards and directed the Executive Secretary to convey the news to each recipient, inviting each to the Awards Ceremony at the Colgate Chapel on May 29. The names of recipients will be published later in the Scene.
As is customary at the January meeting, the Council approved the nominations of several members for leadership positions. Placed in nomination for a vote of the full Council at its April meeting are the following:
For President: Gus Coldebella ’91
For Vice President: Christine Cronin Gallagher ’83
For Treasurer: Kathleen Dill ’89
For Alumni Trustee*: Dr. James Smith ’70
For Alumni Trustee*: Dr. Jung Pak ’96 (filling the unexpired term of Duncan Niederauer ’81)
*Names to be brought forward to the Nominations Committee of the Board of Trustees for approval.
The Council has approved the appointment of Ruth Ann Loveless MA’72 as Executive Secretary, for an 18th yearly term, with admiration and appreciation for her passionate devotion to Colgate and her tireless efforts to sustain and improve the connectedness of alumni to Colgate and to each other.
The Council welcomed President Chopp and benefited from her update on Colgate affairs and her perspective about advancing Colgate.
She acknowledged Colgate’s recent recognition by the NCAA for leading the nation in its 99% graduation rate for student athletes. She also reported the Princeton Review’s listing Colgate as a “best economic value” institution, as well as Professor Michael Johnson’s Gray-Meyer Award for his recent book on political corruption. She further reported that retired General Colin Powell would be the Spring Global Lecture Series speaker, while welcoming new directors for the Picker Gallery, for in-house investment oversight, and for diversity.
She commented further about the suspension of a Colgate sorority, about the modest decline in admissions applications, about the regrettable incident in November involving racist graffiti, and the engagement of the Colgate community in rallying against bias and intolerance.
She closed with comments about the effects of the economics challenges, which include a decline of about 25% of Colgate’s endowment value, and adjustments anticipated in the budget to accommodate for the loss of income from endowment.
She then responded to a variety of questions and comments from Council members.
Regarding Committee activity, the Advancement Committee met with VP Murray Decock and Director of Annual Giving Darcy Nolan to review possible ideas to develop a substantial incentive challenge in FY10 and beyond to help restore alumni participation levels to more substantial numbers. The Council provided advice on the proposed plan.
The Career Services Committee discussed a variety of current programs, including Real World, NGO Spring Study Groups, and other career exploration sessions. The Committee heard confirming news about the anxieties of current seniors coping with the present job market.
The Admissions Committee was briefed on financial aid issues in the present economy and on the applicant pool, in both regular and early decision cohorts, for the Class of 2013. Colgate’s commitment to meet the financial need of all current students was emphasized.
The Communications Committee was briefed on the summer/fall alumni survey done by Gallup which demonstrated degrees of engagement by Colgate alumni in the various affairs of the University and engaged in a lengthy discussion about the interpretations and implications of the data shown.
The Committee also reviewed recent changes to the Colgatealumni.org website and discussed the Scene’s new format changes.
Committee Chair, Julie Bergeron, ’75 solicited commitments for spring alumni columns in the Maroon-News.
The Athletics Committee received a report from David Roach, the Athletic Director, on team successes recently. The Committee then discussed options for it having the largest impact in advancing Colgate’s intercollegiate athletic program.
The District Club Committee discussed increased knowledge sharing among district clubs, as well as how to better utilize and resource Regional Vice Presidents and their club presidents to generate more club enthusiasm and activity.
The University Relations Committee met Dr. Keenan Grenell, VP and Dean of Diversity, and engaged in a lively discussion about affirmative action, strategic diversity planning, and ways to improve the campus climate.
Further discussion connected to the November racist graffiti and the campus response to it.
Integrated into the weekend was the 13th Annual Real World Program, involving 460 seniors and 85 alumni volunteers, including most Council members. The Real World kick-off luncheon was highlighted by remarks from Carole Robinson ’83, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of MTV Networks, who provided spirited and insightful remarks.
Despite sub-freezing temperatures, the Council had a lively and successful weekend, providing career counsel for students, program advice for key Colgate leaders, and conducting its regular business with continued purpose.
The next meeting of the council will be April 18-19, 2009.