By Bud Richey
Greetings from the Alumni Relations Office!
This issue of Rhodes magazine celebrates connections. As prefacing remarks for this column, I am reminded of the first Chapter Leaders Seminar our office hosted in June 2006. Attending the conference were approximately 20 alumni from what was then 10 chapters. Among those in attendance, we had alumni from the ’50s through the class of 2004.
The program began on Friday evening with icebreakers and exercises geared toward finding common values attributed to the Rhodes experience. What emerged through the process was recognition that regardless of when participants attended the college, there was a strong sense of shared community—a sense of connection that bound them together. This seemed to have the biggest impact upon an alumnus from the class of 1957, but it was wasted on no one.
Connections are at the core of the work in the Alumni Relations Office. Much of our programming is delivered through Rhodes Chapters, which serve to connect alumni and parents of students at the community level. We ask our chapters to help recruit students, support student learning, embrace newcomers, help the young find work and assist with fundraising. Routinely, chapters exceed our expectations.
In addition to working with chapters, Alumni Relations staff members constantly encourage students and young alumni to contact alumni in fields they wish to explore or enter. As they do, we hear from them that the contacts they made resulted in meaningful opportunities that have often included landing first jobs. There are times when they are amazed at the assistance they receive from our established alumni. We seize that teachable moment to plant seeds, saying, “This is how it works … you receive the gifts of this community when you have need. Your turn to give comes next … help those who follow you.”
Without the shared values of community members, grounded in the college’s core values and Vision for Rhodes, the connections among alumni would have no substance or foundation upon which to rest.
As it is, however, I marvel at the degree of concern and care you show for those within and outside the Rhodes family. You embrace the young, particularly, which not only helps them in their development and careers, but also serves as a powerful example of “This is how it works … ” so that they will be prepared to help those who follow.
Thank you for giving meaning to Rhodes connections.
Associate Vice President and
Director of Alumni Relations