Alumni News


Joe Neville Society Introduced

 On the evening of Sept. 14, 2004, a reception held at the Bryan Campus Life Center honored Mr. Joe Neville and launched a new giving society at Rhodes that bears his name. Students, alumni and staff of the college gathered for the special occasion.

Mr. Neville, who was a member of the Rhodes staff for 44 years, was always regarded as a friend of the students, particularly minority students.

The Joe Neville Society is a giving society with the purpose of supporting African-American students in meeting financial need. Further information about the Joe Neville Society is available through the Alumni Relations Office.


From the Alumni Relations Office

 Dear Alumnus/a,

In the 1986-87 academic year, I served as adviser of the Southeastern Interfraternity Conference. Five students along with four other Greek advisers formed the SEIFC board. Four of the five advisers used Macintosh computers. The fifth, Sparky Reardon from Ole Miss, was still using the long yellow legal pads and writing everything in longhand.

In one of our planning sessions, Mel Hokanson, the young Greek dean from South Carolina, raised a fine question which was essentially, “Since most of us are Mac users, I wonder if we can go to Apple and see if they could do something to connect our computers so that we could share file information or exchange messages.…”

There was a period of silence as we thought about Mel’s idea. The ice was finally broken when Sparky said, “Nah … that’ll never happen.” With that, we dropped the idea and moved on to planning the leadership conference for the students.

Think for a moment about the extent to which we now rely upon using e-mail and Internet sites both to send and receive information.

In round numbers, Rhodes College has 13,000 living alumni. We have e-mail addresses for 6,000 alumni. Alumni who are registered for the online alumni community number 2,700.

We are moving more purposefully toward electronic communication as a primary means of maintaining contact with alumni of the college. The monthly electronic newsletter is an example of this and has grown from reaching 3,500 alumni in its first release in June 2003 to reaching 6,000 now. “Inside Rhodes,” a useful tool in keeping you advised of developments at the college, also serves as a means for us to articulate ways in which we need your help.

You may have noticed that the first three Homecoming promotional pieces this year did not include registration forms. Instead, they provided a Web site that could be reached for registering online with a phone number provided should a paper form be needed. We anticipate the day when invitations to events are extended electronically. In so doing we could save thousands of dollars each year on printing and postage, and those resources could be redirected to advance other objectives of the college.

We have an electronic community, open only to Rhodes alumni, that has a powerful capability to serve as a means of maintaining contact and providing networking opportunities. One may use the electronic directory to:

  • find classmates or search for alumni by city, region or profession
  • post positions or résumés in the career services program
  • post information and pictures about milestone events or simply extend greetings by using the class notes section.

We need to utilize the potential available through the online community to build a stronger network of Rhodes alumni. Join the online community by following the simple registration instructions. Should you hit a snag at step No. 3, contact Tracy Comer in the Alumni Relations Office (800-264-LYNX or 901-843-3845) to proceed. By registering, we will automatically receive your current e-mail address and you will begin receiving the monthly electronic newsletter.

We want to do a better job of both maintaining contact with our alumni and facilitating contact among those in our alumni ranks. Our ability to do this is dependent upon your response. Please act.

Okay, let’s go full circle before we close. Want to know what happened to Mel, the woman who had the bright idea of sending e-mail messages back in 1986? She serves today as executive assistant to President Troutt at Rhodes College. She continues to come up with good ideas.

I don’t know who invented the Internet. It may have been Al. It may have been Mel. It may have been the military. It may have been students working on a senior project at Cal Tech. What I do know is that it is here and with it comes great potential for us to maintain closer contact.

All best wishes from your Alumni Relations Staff,

Bud Richey, Director
Stephanie Chockley ’95, Assistant Director
Tracy Comer, Administrative Assistant