Greetings from the Alumni Relations Office!
In the “first things first category,” I truly hope that this finds each one of you who receives Rhodes magazine doing well.
As I write this column, students are writing their final exams and submitting papers as we close the 2009 spring term. It has been a remarkable academic year, highlighted in the Alumni Office by a seminar series delivered through Rhodes Chapters, innovative thinking by the Alumni Association Executive Board and a splendid gathering of the faithful to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Black Student Association. In this year, our alumni and parents have gone above and beyond the standard of previous years in their work to recruit new students and participate in career networking programs. Thank you from the student, faculty and staff contingency of the Rhodes community for all that you have done and continue to do. Rhodes is truly a better place because of you, and in each passing day, members of the Alumni staff count our blessings to serve such a loyal, caring and dedicated constituency.
In the “I should have had a V-8 category,” we are excited about implementing an enhanced legacy program through the Alumni Relations Office. Our expectation is to do more than send a congratulatory letter and Lynx bib to Rhodes alumni who have babies. We want to have other points of contact along the way in the lives of these children. We will be more available as a resource to assist families in navigating the college search process, and will express our obvious hope that that process will include Rhodes among colleges under consideration.
Having been at this post for just over six years I can no longer use an excuse that I am still learning what needs to be done in serving as an alumni secretary. The truth, however, is that I learn something every day. In this particular instance when I realized how our alumni deserved so much more than they were receiving regarding our contact with legacy children who follow them, I sent a mea culpa e-mail to President Troutt saying that I was embarrassed to have been in my position for this length of time and not done something previously. Expect change. In the “what’s ahead category,” aside from an improved legacy program, look for stronger measures to extend the Rhodes Career Network beyond the traditional efforts of helping students find internships and very young alumni find their first jobs. We must do better in helping alumni established in their careers find work as they change careers or lose positions. Look as well for our ratcheting up requests for assistance in recruiting good students. The bar has been raised in this current year, but I am not convinced that we’ve reached our potential.
In the “join us category,” do your best to return for Homecoming/Reunion Weekend slated for Oct. 23-24. Reunion year or not, we want you back. Children are welcome and child care will be provided on both Friday and Saturday evenings. As you receive invitations to attend events sponsored through Rhodes Chapters, participate to the extent you can. Remember, please, that the college is better because of you. We value greatly your attendance and participation.
Associate Vice President and
Director of Alumni Relations
"Keep up the good work!" - Helen Smith