January 2012 Meeting Summary
Colgate Alumni Council consists of 55 alumni nominated for their
exemplary volunteer service to Colgate. Its members represent the
approximately 32,000 alumni in the Colgate Alumni Corporation, and each
member strives to be a "Colgate ambassador": enhancing the experience of
all Colgate alumni by becoming deeply familiar with the state of the
college; promoting robust communications, interesting and useful
programming, and other modes of connection and engagement; and providing
venues for alumni to discuss Colgate issues.
Please read what the Council is working on, follow the links to
additional information, and feel free to contact us: we're eager to hear
your thoughts and suggestions.
* * *
January 19-21, 2012 the Alumni Council met in Hamilton for its second
meeting of the 2011-2012 academic year. The Council's work is
ordinarily conducted through its committees’ meetings and General
Session of the entire Council. This year, the Executive Committee chose
to discuss five elements of the university’s strategic planning process
during the Council’s winter meeting. Below is a summary of the
Real World 2012.
In keeping with tradition, the Alumni Council winter meeting coincided
with the annual Real World program with Colgate students. Over 500
students participated in a record attendance year with over 120 alumni
mentors. The panel discussions, networking events, and informal
gatherings were a resounding success.
Opening Discussion. Before the individual planning sessions
began, the Alumni Council conducted an introductory meeting to discuss
other relevant topics to Colgate. Tom Dempsey ’72 led a discussion on
institutional brand and identity, but also other issues that resonated
with the entire alumni corporation not already featured by President
Herbst’s Advisory and Planning Committee. Greek Life, athletics,
student profile, the village of Hamilton, and career development were
all discussed at length.
State of the ‘Gate. On Saturday morning, members
of the senior staff at Colgate participated in a panel discussion on
various administrative functions of the college. Panelists included
Gary Ross ’77 (Admissions), Bruce Selleck ’71 (Dean of the Faculty),
Murray Decock ’80 (Advancement & Alumni Affairs), David Hale ’84
(Finance & Administration), and David Roach (Athletics). A document was shared in advance with all Council members so the panel discussion could be an exchange of questions & answers.
* * *
Facilitators: Robert Johnson ’94, William Sweeney ’01
Advisory & Planning Committee members: President Herbst, Professor Adam Burnett
Council was intrigued by the Board of Trustees’ trip to Palo Alto and
its discussion of technology and education. The discussion focused on
the ways in which Colgate must be strategic about its approach to
technology in order to continue to drive communication, collaboration
and innovation. These include:
- improving the technology infrastructure;
- using technology to expand and enhance the classroom experience;
- using technology to improve internal business systems;
- using technology to track the lifecycle from applicant to alumni;
- technology as core, i.e., teaching competency in understanding/managing technology;
- equitable use of and access to technology; and
- ways to exploit technology as a marketing tool
Architecture of the Athletics
Facilitators: Joseph McGrath ’85, Kevin Rusch ’85
Advisory & Planning Committee members: Interim Dean of the Faculty and Provost Bruce Selleck ’71, Vice President Murray Decock, Athletic Director Dave Roach
university faces the prospect of athletic scholarships for football,
fundraising needs and performance evaluations, this discussion focused
on three topics: value of athletics for Colgate; external and internal
“brand” of the athletics program; and composition of athletics at
Key take-a-ways of the discussion included:
- Given that the D1 athletic program has an
important and positive impact on Colgate's brand, there is a need to
better distinguish the Colgate brand and unique positioning of the
- While committed to D1, need to analyze
which (and #) teams fielded, as well as balance student’s desires with
increasing costs of fielding D1 programs
- Need to achieve consistent success with “focus" programs
- Need to better leverage the fundraising potential of the athletic programs
Rightsizing the University
Facilitators: Kathleen Dill ’89, Christopher Wolyniak ’00
Advisory & Planning Committee members: Interim Dean of the Faculty and Provost Bruce Selleck ’71
discussion focused on sizing Colgate’s student body, faculty, and staff
without changing the core and critical features of the University,
namely D1 athletics, residential college experience and the importance
of the overall academic program. While open to growing or slowing the
University’s size and developing more robust graduate programs, the
Council felt strongly that “size” should not compromise standards in
education, change what makes Colgate, Colgate or ignore the implications
to the University’s standing, e.g., US News rankings.
Facilitators: Lynn Plant ’77, Bruce Clayton ’89
Advisory & Planning Committee members: President Herbst
Council spent this session discussing the implications of globalization
on faculty and curriculum, off campus study, admissions, and residential
life. Important findings included how to retain Colgate’s values
(e.g., adaptability) as the school adjusts to changing demographics,
how to measure and evaluate global initiatives and how to create a
campus environment that embraces global thinking.
Student Diversity in the 21st Century
Facilitators: Sarah Compter ’04, Timothy Seamans ’02
discussion focused on a more relevant definition of diversity for
students so that they can all appreciate the value of difference (not
just a selected audience). The Alumni Council members also discussed
how diversity is confronted or embraced by faculty, staff, and alumni. A
successful integration of diverse thinking is led from the top and
understood by all community members.
alumni discussed what is at stake if diversity is rightfully addressed.
It will take a culture shift to tackle effectively the societal issues
that are built in at Colgate.
* * *
The Alumni Council's next meeting will be held April 13-15, 2012. The annual meeting will be held during Reunion June 2, 2012.
Questions? Comments? Please write to Tim Mansfield, Executive Secretary for the Alumni Council and Director of Alumni Affairs.
Christine Cronin-Gallagher ’83
Alumni Council President