Additionally, our alumni association is not in the business of soliciting funds--the university operates a separate annual fund, through which some alumni choose to designate support for alumni programs. No state funds are used for Tech's alumni programs--only revenue generated from programs and services in addition to partial Virginia Tech Foundation support.
Another distinction is that our Alumni Association is one of the few in the country that emphasizes constituency affiliations, such as academic college affiliation. We have a robust program of college and departmental programming for our alumni, as well as designated homecomings for different colleges on fall weekends. Each college has an Alumni Relations staff member. Also, there is an emphasis on programs for other groups, including graduate alumni, multicultural affiliations, and alumni of the corps of cadets. Our association has been recognized as a model nationally for its "no dues" policy, as well as for its varied and diverse constituency programs.
Q How are the members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors engaged in influencing the programs and services of the Alumni Association?
The Alumni Association Board of Directors is composed of alumni who bring diverse experience and insight from leadership roles across many different professions, including the government, military, and industry, as well as investment, legal and consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations. Tom Tillar and his very capable staff are responsible for the planning and day-to-day operations that make Virginia Tech's alumni programs and services possible.
Although the board has oversight and governance responsibilities, our main role is to help guide the long-term direction the Alumni Association takes. We provide advice and best practices from industry to the association staff to help them meet their goals and overcome challenges, and otherwise help as called upon. We also attend various programs on and off campus and take advantage of many of the services provided by the association. In doing so, we can serve as a focus group to evaluate and make suggestions for changes and possible improvements or additions. The staff is always receptive to our input.
Q What is your long-term vision for how the Alumni Association will serve and benefit the university?
The Alumni Association is the principal means to keep Hokies connected to their alma mater, their fellow alumni, and the community. The Alumni Association provides crucial services to accomplish this, including maintaining alumni records (keep yours up to date at www.alumni.vt.edu); providing tools to keep Hokies affiliated with Tech, such as lifetime "@vt.edu" e-mail addresses and the Hokie Nation Network online professional and social networking tool; supporting the alumni chapter network, so they can connect Hokies with each other and provide local networking and service opportunities across the globe; and engaging in legislative advocacy in Virginia to garner as much state support for the university as possible, especially in challenging economic times.
My long-term vision for the Alumni Association is more of the same, only better. I would like to see the association provide an even greater multiplier effect to keep the Hokie Nation connected. This could be accomplished by growth in new chapter formation domestically and especially abroad. I envision supporting the growth of an international presence and a support structure that includes a virtual roundtable of leaders from international chapters that can share best practices and lessons learned that are unique to their situations.
I envision a Hokie Nation Network that grows from the thousands of members today to many tens of thousands of members in the future. The network effects of such growth can help meet the career assistance, social networking, and communications needs of many more Hokies than those who have time to visit our beautiful campus or regularly engage with their local chapters. In particular, I would like to see many more alumni give back to their alma mater and opt to become career mentors to help our students and fellow alumni.