Alumni Executive Council Business Meeting Minutes
January 24, 2015
President Edward J. Forbes ‘02 called the meeting to order at 2:37 p.m.
Secretary Jacquelyn Hasper Kuno ’84 call the roll:
Members present: Neil Chatterjee ’99, Bill Cowan ’86, Tracy Dana ‘07, Ed Forbes ‘02, Jacqueline Roy Hallock ‘04, Dave Halstead ’91, Heidi Hansen ’70, Joanne Rotella Honeywell ’80, Jacquelyn Hasper Kuno ’84, Daniel Lee ‘05, Annie Montgomery ‘68, Susan North ’76, Randy Olivo ’06, Dan Posener ‘82, Mary Claire Schwab ‘03, Lissa Scull Short ‘83, Phil Sprague ’80, Charlie Sullivan ‘89, Mark Taylor ‘75, Cortney E.V. Terrillion ‘99, Danielle Weaver ’07, Susan Nicolais Weaver ’85, Jan Hunt Williams ‘70
Student Delegates present: Molly Hyde ’17, Sijia (Scarlett) Qi ‘16
Members absent: Norm Abbott ’65, Lori Strauss Bantz ’67, Lyn Bedell ’66, Adam Casler ’06, Terry Ford ‘88, Chelsea Nuffer Lloyd ’10, Jay McKee ‘71, Brendan McLaughlin ’90, Mary Neff Peterson ’82, Robert Rood ‘69, Beth Slater ‘03
President Forbes declared a quorum (plus 3) was present for the conduct of business.
Approval of the official Minutes of the Virtual Business Meeting of Saturday, December 6, 2014.
The minutes were approved unanimously on a motion from Ms. Terrillion and a second from Ms. Schwab.
Mr. Forbes thanked everyone for their collective strong participation in the weekend and its many objectives.
Council members were again encouraged to join in the celebration during the Alumni Association Centennial Reunion on campus, May 28-31, 2015, as it promises to be a special weekend, with many great things planned. However, if Council members are only able to choose one event to attend at that
time of the year, our annual Council retreat at Canaras the following week – June 4-7, 2015 – is definitely the priority.
During the Centennial Reunion weekend, he reported that we will have dinner with President and Mrs. Fox on Friday night, then on Saturday, the AEC will have great placement in the parade, and the meeting of the Alumni Association that follows the parade will highlight the revision to the Alumni Association Bilaws to address the expansion of the Alumni Executive Council. We will then announce our Centennial gift to the University. He reported that nine former Council Presidents have been talking about the Centennial since last summer, including the scope of the collective Council gift.
Mr. Forbes discussed how the Council has been supporting Internships for students for many years, in recent years spending about $5,000 per year. The hope is that this new Fund will help the Alumni Council make a bigger and bolder impact. The Fund, entitled the Alumni Executive Council Endowment for Internships and Experiential Learning, will have a $250,000 goal and the objective of raising the money over three years, ending in 2018. Since the Fund is an endowment with a universal draw rate of 5%, reaching this goal will nearly triple the funds available to students for internships in the future. In keeping with the University’s Strategic Plan, the long range goal will be to help every St. Lawrence student have an opportunity to participate in an internship, a fellowship, or an experiential learning experience, since those opportunities are widely recognized as key tools in students’ job search tool box. He mentioned that the “Idea Crawl” that Council members participated in that morning had two stations dedicated to internships, since faculty and staff recognize their strong value. He also said that finding an internship during the summer after Junior year is almost as important now as selecting where you’re going to attend college.
To date, we have over $93,000 committed from the former Council Presidents, who will make the formal announcement at the Centennial Reunion in May. President Forbes asked for universal support and expressed his confidence that we will meet and exceed our goal, especially given the commitment thus far, and since the fundraising will occur over three (3) years, and also because there are approximately 300 current and former Alumni Executive Council members from whom we will be encouraging support.
Ms. Hansen expressed her support for Endowment giving, as she feels this is critically important to the University’s future.
Mr. Forbes addressed the ongoing efforts to expand Council from 35 members to 50 members, which began at the June 2014 Canaras retreat. The plan is to elect the new members at the winter meeting in 2016. He thanked those involved to date, expressing the collective feelings that this expansion will continue to drive our Alma Mater forward and will renew alumni engagement and leadership which is critical to the future stewardship of St. Lawrence.
He shared collective thoughts on the expansion, including that there is a feeling of “the more, the merrier,” since there is vital work to accomplish, and that we will have the means to support the new members, including plenty of room for everyone at our annual Canaras retreat (the Camp can house 62 people). Mr. Forbes also shared charts which depicted the mechanics of the expansion, including numbers desired in each decade or cluster. He expressed the challenges that the Membership and Honors Committee face in recruiting new members, including the need to find more qualified alumni who live relatively close to campus, plus those who live in key recruiting and alumni markets throughout
the world. More student athletes and alumni with diverse undergraduate activities are desired, and as well, there will be an emphasis on younger alumni, since it is very important to keep young alumni engaged in the life of the University so that they will be more likely to keep close to the University throughout their lifetime (Laurentians for Life!).
Work to be done includes revisiting admissions, formalizing Council presence at Saints Network events, boosting Council presence at Reunion and Homecoming, partnering with staff to expand SLU Connects, boosting Council resources, staffing the Silent Auction, expanding student-facing programming with class-specific year’s events.
Regarding the SLU Connects DC program, he encouraged more involvement in important events of this kind. An alumni centered event, organized and orchestrated by Trustee Jen Curley, he shared details of dramatic alumni engagement, which included over 60 alumni in the Washington DC area. The events included opportunities for students to network and learn about finding internships in the Capitol region, and the 20 alumni who were on the committee orchestrated mock interviews, toured the students, and exposed the 32 students to a full-week of programming that was clearly unique. It was an excellent overall event – it engaged students, worked with faculty and alumni, and was so very beneficial to alumni as well, since they felt more engagement with the University through this program.
Mr. Forbes reflected on how the Council has created tremendous opportunities to positively impact students each day, and most recently, the First Years, through the distribution of the Laurentian for Life “bells”, the sophomores through Council participation in the Career “Boot Camp,” and the Juniors and Seniors through networking opportunities. He and Vice President Short and the officers continue to talk about new ways to expand our exposure to all students, including possibly moving our Winter Meeting to the same weekend as the Bootcamp in January, and also enhancing communications with Parents so that they too know the integral role that Alumni Council can play in their students’ lives. Ms. Short mentioned that there were parents who attended the Alumni Council hosted breakfast during Family Weekend in September who knew very little or nothing about the Alumni Council. It was suggested that we communicate directly with the Parents through the Parents Committee and also through the Parents Newsletter, which is created by staff.
Mr. Cowan reported that it has been quite a dramatic year and that Council austerity is over, with the dramatic increases resulting from the continued and increased success of the Silent Auction and the newly increased Revenue Sharing agreement with the University Bookstore. He shared several graphs depicting the budget changes, and thanked everyone involved in the efforts to significantly improve our financial position. In summary, Council had budgeted $30,500 for the 2014 Budget Year (BY), and the actual revenue from the year was $41,420. On the expense side, Council had budgeted $28,000, and $23,548 was actually spent. The net income for the BY was $17,872. The budgeted Ending Cash Reserve was $20,283, and the Actual Ending Cash Reserve was $35,655.
He also thanked Committee Chairs and members for their thorough budget reviews and recommendations for the coming year, and confirmed that we will continue to be prudent going forward.
Mr. Sullivan moved to accept the Treasurers Report, which was seconded by Ms. Honeywell. Mr. Cowan thanked Mr. Sullivan for his fine work as the previous Council Treasurer.
Ms. Cania updated Council on a few interesting items which had not yet been reported at previous meetings throughout the weekend. She mentioned that some interesting news that isn’t necessarily “headline news” is heard at an occasional “Cookie Council,” which provides faculty and staff with opportunities to share news and to get to know each other better. There is a proposal for a new major in Statistics which is working its way through the faculty, with the hope that it will be offered as early as Fall 2015. Next summer or early fall, ODY Library will have a new study space on the 2nd floor overlooking the ‘enchanted forest.’ Athletic Director Margie Strait retired on January 15th after a 44 year career at St. Lawrence an there are many tributes planned for all of her wonderful contributions throughout the years. She reported that Melissa Richards is the new VP for Communications, and that in the Fall of 2014, the University purchased 25% more food locally.
Ms. Cania also reported on the Best Western University Inn renovations, saying that the Trustees will be meeting in three weeks to vote on the financing for the proposed updates.
Ms. Hyde and Ms. Qi presented many ideas about how they intend to continue their service as ambassadors to the Alumni Council. Ms. Qi spoke of a Student Arts Design Contest for the Silent Auction, which may include an SLU-Silent Auction logo on a printed t-shirt to distribute leading up to and during the auction weekend. The logo could be used on the thank you cards, as well as on all marketing materials. She and Ms. Hyde also plan to encourage St. Lawrence students to submit knitted goods, pottery, sculptures, paintings, and framed photographs of St. Lawrence to place in the Silent Auction.
They spoke of incentives and prizes for submitting pieces to the Silent Auction, which they may need some financial support for, and plan to publicize the names of those who have submitted work in various places, including the St. Lawrence website and the Hill News. They also spoke of orchestrating a raffle during the Silent Auction as well.
Ms. Hyde spoke of a new program entitled “Ask a Laurentian,” which will be a social media initiative with the intention of reaching a wide audience so that traffic will increase to the Alumni Association Facebook page, and will allow for another tool for dialogue and interaction between students and alumni.
Student Services and Recruitment
Ms. Terrillion, Chair of SS&R, reported that Council helped in a limited way with off-campus interviews, with the help of Jeff Rickey and Jeremy Freeman. Members who participated helped by answering parents’ questions. Ms. Danielle Weaver plans to draft guidelines for what’s expected in helping parents and potential students during off-campus interviews.
There is an effort underway to help more as Laurentian Admissions Associates, with the primary objective of helping cover college fairs. Currently, Council is not being asked to help, but the staff is interested in getting us more involved. They plan to provide us with more timely advanced notice with the hope of enlisting more Council members to attend various college fairs.
For many years, the University staff has held a “Chip Workshop” at Reunion for children of alumni. This session included all types of information regarding preparation for applying to college, and especially St. Lawrence. They plan to create a webinar so that all alumni can benefit from this important information.
Ms. Terrillion mentioned that there have been discussions about materials that are needed, like a travel kit, so that folks will have something that we can hand out to them.
Regarding “yield telephone calls,” Ms. Terrillion reported that our help is needed and that the calls are extremely important. She sent around a sign-up list so that Council members can call accepted students to help them with their decision. Last year, 53 % made their decision during that month, and 1 in 4 accepted students chose St. Lawrence last year. Also last year, we only reached half of who we wanted to reach, so there is room for improvement. The Admissions office is asking us to make between 100-150 calls this year, and there will be a great deal of thought behind who will be matched up. Low-need males are a priority, which will help with gender balance, which was improved upon last year. The phone calls will be made from late-March until mid-April, 2015.
Great report on the Class of 2019 – 53% ahead of last year in number of applications, which is virtually unheard of in the Admissions world! There has also been a 22% increase in early decision applicants compared to the previous year.
Ms. Terrillion reported on the Annual Mocktail, which was held on campus the previous day. There has been a great deal of positive feedback so far, including the distribution of business cards, plus special cards distributed to students who performed well during their conversations with Council members. There will be a follow-up report on the event after all data has been collected.
The NYC Semester event was very successful again this year. Many thanks to Mr. Poesner and Ms. Montgomery for their fine work, and for Dan’s work behind the scenes at Disney. Ms. Terrillion and Mr. Poesner met with Dr. Richard Jenseth, the Director of the NYC Semester, to discuss the next event, scheduled to take place on January 26, 2015.
There will be an Alumni Career panel in March which will provide an opportunity for students to connect with local alums.
Finally, Ms. Terrillion reported on the Mock Interviews which were held on campus. According to Ms. Carleen Pallante, the sessions were valuable, and the folks in the Career Services area would like us to continue providing that opportunity for our students. The consensus is to host the mock interviews in the fall during our weekend meetings, to include everyone from Council, and to make sure each session is not too lengthy.
Advancement and Engagement
Ms. North, Chair of A&E, reported that they had a good committee meeting and that most of the members who could not make it to campus this weekend attended the committee meeting on the phone. Ms. Hissong provided the committee with an update on Advancement: to date, alumni
participation is down slightly (2.5%), driven in part by the makeup of the classes which are Reunioning this year, but they’re working on rectifying that. In an effort to bring the number of staff up to a level appropriate for the upcoming fundraising campaign and beyond, 11 new staff positions have been approved. So far, 2 have been added and 3 will start soon, which will be 5 out of 11 hired; 6 positions are still posted. In the coming months, the focus will be on integrating staff as they work to finalize details for the upcoming comprehensive Campaign.
Regarding the upcoming L4L Week, Ms. Bedel needed to step aside for now, and Ms. Schwab has agreed to be the Council liaison in her absence. The special week will be 5 days long with a “Community Day,” then “Laurentians Learn Day,” then on Wednesday there will be “Laurentians Connect Day” and Charter Day will also be celebrated on Wednesday, April 1 (instead of April 3rd), because of Passover. On Thursday, “Laurentians Give Day” will be celebrated. Charter Day will be the day when the L4L Challenge is launched.
There was some student pushback last year about spending money to buy coffee, but, after much discussion, it was decided that we will approved $500 this year.
Ms. Lloyd is chairing the Laurentian Networks effort. She created a blueprint/plan to follow as new “clubs” are created in different cities across the country. We are currently waiting for approval on the plan from VP Pynchon. Some of the areas being considered for new involvement are San Francisco, Denver, the North Country/Adirondacks, and Buffalo, since they are priorities for admissions. The committee will begin reaching out to alumni in these areas as soon as this is approved.
Our Alumni Facebook page currently has 3,700 likes; it is becoming more active and we are getting exposure. We are looking to create more consistency and would like someone on Council to own the Facebook page for two weeks at a time, which we feel is not an onerous responsibility. The exception will be before and during L4L Week, and also during the weeks leading up to Reunion, and maybe Homecoming. Beth will do a training session for those who are not comfortable with Twitter or Facebook.
We have been discussing the idea of profiling Alumni who have products or services and feel this would be a great effort. We will provide you with more details as this idea develops further.
Laurentians in Residence will be on campus on February 26th, and so far, 23 students have signed-up for informal interviews. The Spring Laurentian in Residence program planning is underway as well. Mr. Sprague will plan to represent Council on February 26th, and he will ask Mr. Todd to join him.
Twenty-three Council members so far have signed-up to make “First-time Donor Thank You” calls. Last year, 26% of those called have renewed their gifts, to date, this year.
Ms. North thanked all Council members who continue to be involved with Accolades, a signature program for Council.
Regarding the upcoming Centennial Reunion in May, 2015, Ms. North thanked everyone who has been involved in helping plan for the weekend to be a special one. She said that Jillian Mckernan-Walley, our staff liaison, is helping with all of the details. She encouraged everyone to sign-up online if they plan to attend. As well, she said that we will be sponsoring a breakfast again, and asked that Council members
plan to be there to meet and greet. She also said that we are hoping to send Council members to class dinners on Saturday night to say a few words and to help welcome the returning alumni.
Finances and Resources
Mr. Cowan, Chair of F&R, again thanked the F&R Committee for their work on the 2015 Budget and also thanked the Council for their approval of the Budget in December.
Prior to the official Business meeting, Mr. Cowan, as Chair, reported to the full Council on updates to the Attendance Working Group. Mr. Cowan, Ms. Sue Weaver, Mr. Chatterjee and Mr. Sullivan have been working together on the committee throughout this past year. The Committee looked at 35 different colleges & universities to examine best practices, and also created a detailed survey which all Council members participated in to help craft the best policy for our Council. The group presented their findings and will create a flexible policy document for review at the Virtual Meeting in March.
Ms. Kuno, Chair of the Silent Auction, thanked everyone for once again signing-up with gifts to the next fundraising event, which will be held during Family Weekend, October 6-8, 2015. She encouraged everyone to provide the SA2015 Committee with the details of their gifts soon so that the appropriate marketing of those gifts can be done during the coming months, with a goal of having all completed by our Canaras retreat in June. She reported on the efforts to institutionalize the process for the Silent Auction so that the planning for the future fundraiser can be carried on with a great deal of fluidity in the coming years.
Mr. Cowan reported that the transition out of our direct input with Saintswear has been going smoothly, and that Ms. Hallock and Ms. Honeywell are working together to insure that we continue to have a connection with the Bookstore as we maintain the Saintswear name on special items. Keeping the connection is important as we strive to heighten Alumni Executive Council and Alumni Association visibility, especially through ‘Laurentian for Life’ messaging going forward. Mr. Cowan again thanked Ms. Honeywell and Ms. North for their hard work with Saintswear throughout many years.
Membership and Honors
Mr. Chatterjee, Chair of M&H, once again reminded Council that the first rule of M&H is to not discuss the inner workings of the committee. However, he did share that it was with regret that Dr. Brandy has chosen to resign from Council, stating, though, that he would still like to help where he can so that we should continue to call on him for assistance. He also expressed his concern that Ms. Petersen needs to take a leave of absence, due to family health issues, but that she hopes to be back with us all at Canaras.
Regarding next year’s Student Delegates to the Alumni Council, he expressed the need to step up the publicity for these positions so that we have a full group of students assisting us in our efforts next year.
Announcements and Adjournment
President Forbes called for old business, of which there was none. He then called for any new business, which led to his reading of two new resolutions to be voted on by the full Council:
Alumni Executive Council
St. Lawrence University
WHEREAS, The Alumni Executive Council marks a century of service to St. Lawrence University in 2015,
WHEREAS, The Strategic Map of St. Lawrence University aims to guarantee every Laurentian an internship, a fellowship or an experiential learning opportunity,
WHEREAS, we strongly affirm the value and perpetuation of the St. Lawrence network,
WHEREAS, we are all Laurentians for Life,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we create the Alumni Executive Council Endowment for Internships and Experiential Learning to celebrate the Council’s centennial and to begin the Council’s second century of Service to St. Lawrence University.
Mr. Taylor moved to accept the resolution as written; Mr. Chatterjee seconded the motion. The resolution was passed unanimously.
Alumni Executive Council
St. Lawrence University
WHEREAS, The Alumni Executive Council’s contributions to St. Lawrence University continue to expand and drive our Alma Mater forward,
WHEREAS, the need for renewed alumni engagement and leadership is critical to the future stewardship of our Alma Mater,
WHEREAS, the impact of the Alumni Executive Council’s dedication to the idea that all Laurentians are Laurentians for Life cannot be disputed,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Alumni Executive Council expand its membership to 50 and that the bylaws and constitution of the Alumni Association be so amended to allow for an expansion.
Ms. North moved to accept the resolution as written; Ms. Dana seconded the motion. All were in favor, with the exception of one dissenting vote from Ms. Hansen. The resolution was passed.
President Forbes brought the meeting to a close at 4:25 pm.