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As Part of a New Plan, Rutgers Will Establish a Stronger Partnership with Its Alumni

Richard L. McCormick, President
As published in the Winter 2008 issue of Rutgers Magazine

If you are a Rutgers graduate and are holding this magazine, let me begin by saying thank you! You are among our most active alumni, through your membership in an alumni association, your donations to the university, or your involvement as an alumni volunteer.

Alumni loyalty is a vital force in building strong universities, and your interest in your alma mater has made a difference. Alumni combine with faculty, staff, and our vibrant student body to shape our future. Our graduates have a stake in the dreams that we dream for Rutgers, and we in turn depend on you.

Rutgers needs to make that connection with all our alumni. Surveys have shown that most graduates have a strong affection for Rutgers. But this has not always translated into involvement with the university-a fact that has hindered our efforts to achieve all our ambitions for Rutgers. The nation's finest universities have highly successful alumni relations programs that nurture loyalty and broad support, and we want the same for Rutgers.

Last month I presented, and the Board of Governors approved, a plan for a new partnership with Rutgers' alumni. It reflects the bold recommendations of a 27-member alumni task force that I appointed in 2006 as well as the input from alumni gathered online and at four public forums last fall.

The plan will establish a single new, all-encompassing Rutgers University Alumni Association (RUAA) to which every single graduate of this university will belong. The leadership of this volunteer structure will work in close partnership with newly promoted Vice President Donna Thornton and our Department of Alumni Relations to set priorities and create stronger alumni engagement with the university. My administration has made a commitment to provide the funding needed for the success of these initiatives.

While we will continue to welcome the financial support of our loyal alumni-and indeed we would like to increase it-membership dues will no longer be collected. At the same time, we soon will begin sending Rutgers Magazine to every alumnus and alumna, and will work closely with the RUAA to ensure that the magazine is as effective as possible in serving the alumni community.

These changes are not mere exercises in managerial or organizational restructuring. They represent a fundamental new direction for Rutgers alumni relations. Most important, we are committed to increasing the opportunities our alumni have for connecting with and advancing the university.

So I am issuing an invitation to all alumni to come back home and to be a vital part of Rutgers. We welcome and respect you, we depend on you, and we want you to be as proud of Rutgers as we are proud of you.

President McCormick's plan, the task force report, and related information are available online at http://www.alumni.rutgers.edu/transform.