Strength in Numbers
The Council of 200 will give alumnae meaningful opportunities to contribute and serve.
BY THERESA MCHUGH PALMERSHEIM '72
Educating students to lead and influence is central to the mission of St. Catherine University. And now alumnae can continue to lead and influence — and to learn and serve — in more and deeper ways through the new St. Catherine Alumnae Council of 200.
"This is a big, bold shift," says Vice President for External Relations Marjorie Mathison Hance '70. "The Alumnae Council of 200 will help alumnae engage with
"The Council will dramatically help us expand the number of alumnae who have ways of providing input and influencing the affairs of the University," she says.
The goal is to "explode" alumnae engagement. "But engagement is not just a buzzword," says Alumnae Relations Director Ruth Haag Brombach '60. "It describes the productive connection that is possible between the University and its graduates. The Alumnae Council of 200 will be a unique and fun experience for everyone who participates."
Work has begun to fill the 200 Council seats through appointments, nominations and self-nominations. The first meeting of the Alumnae Council of 200 will be held at St. Kate's on September 29 and 30, 2011.
The Alumnae Council of 200 will include alumnae from each of 60 class years in the College for Women (1950 through 2010), as well as alumnae from the Weekend Program, and graduate, associate and diploma programs. Students, faculty, staff, alumnae chapter members, the Sisters of St. Joseph, past Alumnae Association presidents and former trustees also will be represented.
"The process will encourage broad representation," Haag Brombach says. "Class leadership teams, elected at their last reunion, will be asked to nominate someone from their class or to self-nominate." Alumnae from other degree programs also will be asked to submit nominations or to nominate themselves.
Among the responsibilities for Alumnae Council members:
The board of directors of the former St. Catherine Alumnae Association is serving as the first executive committee of the Alumnae Council of 200 and has appointed seven members to an Alumnae Council nominating committee. That committee will contact potential Council members during the next several months. The first Council members will serve two- or three-year terms.
"The annual meeting will be two days of learning and planning, as well as visiting with the school deans or their representatives," Haag Brombach says. "During the rest of the year, alumnae will make an impact as ambassadors and through direct, hands-on service. For example, an alumna may mentor a student, work with admissions at a college fair or welcome prospective students from her area."
St. Catherine leaders first learned about alumnae councils through another university's alumni council of 400. "We are incorporating best practices for alumnae from universities all over the country," says Haag Brombach. "We intend to make our Alumnae Council the best of the best. It will be a top experience — a chance to interact with other alumnae and accomplish something significant."
As alumnae become more tied into the schools of the University — the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health; the School of Business and Leadership; the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences; and the School of Professional Studies — they will have more opportunities for educational programming, she explains.
Mathison Hance sees the Alumnae Council as a chance for alumnae to influence an institution they care deeply about and to help the University succeed.
"Council members will develop close relationships with people at the University and with distinguished alumnae of all professions," she explains. "They will have opportunities for intellectual stimulation and the chance to shape St. Kate's moving forward."
In turn, students, faculty and staff members on the council will learn more about alumnae interests and concerns.
"As St. Catherine has grown from a college to a university, we've seen more ways for alumnae to benefit from and engage with St. Kate's," Mathison Hance says. "The St. Catherine Alumnae Council of 200 is the vehicle to make that happen."