From the Alumni Relations Office
Greetings from the Alumni Relations Office!
An article in this issue of the magazine features Rhodes Chapters, providing opportunity for a bit of reflecting on the program. My first conversation about this matter occurred in July 2003, about two months into my service on the staff, in which Billy McLean ’57 in Mobile suggested that the college could benefit by drawing on local alumni to plan and host gatherings on a regular basis.
The Alumni Relations staff members reviewed approaches used by other colleges and universities in an effort to learn more about what would make sense for Rhodes. Among several conversations, one stands out: The alumni director of a fine liberal arts college said: “If you don’t have them, I certainly would not start them now,” indicating his college’s alumni clubs were “high maintenance … and too much work.” Staff members of other institutions were more encouraging.
The time was right to begin organizing alumni and parents of students at the local level. We had heard from Mobile, explored good practices of sister schools and realized that we would benefit by having alumni and parent involvement at the local level. Our Alumni Board came to the same conclusion in embracing a view being advanced by Bobbo Jetmundsen ’77 in Atlanta. Thus, in the October 2003 meeting of the Alumni Board, a decision was reached to formalize a “Steering Group” centered in Mobile to serve the Gulf Coast from Pensacola, FL, to Gulfport, MS, and a “Regional Caucus” in Atlanta to serve people within a two-hour driving radius from Atlanta.
In April 2005, after some tuning efforts, we began the work of establishing Chapters in communities where we had good concentrations of alumni and students.
As we look from the early days to the present, we have come to rely so heavily upon our 16 Rhodes Chapters for serving as vehicles through which the college advances.
The March 2011 meeting of the Alumni Board will be an important one regarding the future of regional programs. Leaders of the Alumni Association will be asked for their thoughts and ideas to guide the Alumni Relations Office in selecting sites in which to establish new Chapters or Clubs. My expectation is that we will build upon the good work of so many alumni and parents in charting “phase II” of the Rhodes Chapters model.
Associate Vice President and
Director of Alumni Relations