Lifelong Learners and Leaders
New structure for Alumnae Association would offer an array of opportunities
Imagine if every graduate thought first of St. Catherine University as an ongoing resource for networking, career advice and intellectual stimulation. Think about the possibilities of alumnae working to recruit future Katies or helping new graduates get their first jobs — or helping themselves through new educational opportunities in graduate programs and distance learning.
Consider how the University's influence could spread if alumnae across the country viewed themselves as "brand ambassadors," as carriers of the message about the values-based liberal arts education they received — and on which their own personal reputations are built.
This new paradigm for alumnae engagement — brought forward by Vice President for External Relations Marjorie Mathison Hance '70 — is being considered and given shape by a task team appointed by St. Catherine President Andrea J. Lee, IHM.
With a vision to embrace alumnae as "lifelong leaders and learners," the task team is proposing that the University more deliberately engage alumnae in the life of the institution.
Rather than maintain the Alumnae Association as a separate nonprofit entity, St. Catherine would assume responsibility for alumnae relations under the Division of External Relations. The University would allocate increased funding for the work of alumnae relations, establish an alumnae Council of 200 to ensure broad representation and adopt the best practices of 18 institutions across the country that the task team has researched.
Naturally, questions arise:
Below are answers to these and other questions, based on documents prepared by the task team and conversations with Ruth Haag Brombach '60, executive director of the Alumnae Association; Linda Theis Thrasher '88, incoming president; and Mathison Hance, who is the task team chair. Voting is scheduled for August 10.
What would be retained under the new
What would change?
Other parts of the University can provide additional opportunities for alumnae, such as expanded career services and even international programs. Enrichment classes, lectures and visionary conferences could be offered in electronic format.
Why is this change being proposed now?
The interaction within Schools will address specific areas of alumnae interest and complement the other alumnae activities coordinated through Alumnae Relations.
How is our alumnae population different
than in years past?
What would be possible under the new
structure that isn't happening now?
Perhaps we'd appoint a visiting alumna scholar each year or ask alumnae to assist in sponsoring student events. Alumnae chapters across the country could sponsor receptions for students in their area who will attend St. Kate's. The career development office can provide job postings for alumnae. We can expand the mentoring initiatives currently underway.
Long-lasting, effective alumnae relations begins the day that students walk in the door. What kind of meaningful projects could alumnae and students work on together — in the process developing mentoring relationships and lifetime friendships?
Would alumnae continue to receive SCAN?
What is the Council of 200?
The Council would meet annually in St. Paul and provide input into lifelong learning opportunities, academic programs, recruitment of students, fundraising and special events.
What changes would this produce inside
With alumnae affairs under the jurisdiction of the vice president for external relations, alumnae would have representation at the cabinet level — meaning the cabinet would have responsibility for implementing strategies on behalf of alumnae. Many departments would be involved, including the four Schools, career development, admissions, student affairs and development.
So, what's next?
The next step is for alumnae to offer opinions and ideas, to raise questions and, ultimately, to vote on a specific proposal. The Alumnae Association board and the task team are working on a memorandum of understanding that will spell out details of the proposed new alignment.
To learn more or ask a question, visit the Vision for Alumnae website.