The Colgate Scene
November 2001

Alumni Affairs

The privilege of serving Colgate as a member of the alumni board is truly exhilarating because it means working with many of the very talented and increasingly more diverse 27,000 individuals who have shared the unique Colgate experience. A major added bonus is the opportunity to interact, on and off campus, with today's students, faculty, administrators and members of the Hamilton community.

The board meets four times a year on campus, including the annual meeting held during reunion weekend. After considerable thought, the executive committee decided to convene this fall's meeting at its scheduled time -- September 13-15. A large part of the agenda was modified to specially address reactions to, and prospective thinking about, the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

The Colgate community and its alumni were directly impacted by the terrorist attacks, especially board member Megan Pezzuti Pelino '89, who lost both her husband Todd Pelino '89 and sister Kaleen Pezzuti, a 1995 graduate of Cornell.

The governance of our board includes a very strong committee structure dedicated to "promote the general welfare of Colgate University by developing an active and enduring interest and involvement in the affairs of the university by its alumni and friends," according to the bylaws. During the course of the September meeting the Career Services Committee discussed an action plan for how alumni could be more helpful in the very challenging job market in light of the economic downturn, further fueled by the terrorist attacks.

The newly formed Technology and Communications Committee focused on ways to enhance communications with all alumni by leveraging existing resources. The University Relations Committee sponsored a lively and somewhat controversial student debate regarding diversity among undergraduates and faculty and the unique challenges presented by Colgate's rural location and apparent lack of social alternatives. And the Development Committee recommended that the board establish and endow a memorial scholarship dedicated to the memory of all alumni lost as a result of the terrorism of September 11.

The board also heard from academic dean Alan Glos and three student leaders about the evolution of the honor code and its implementation. The board approved significant financial support for two important initiatives; BACCHUS and the Partnership for Community Development.

A highlight of this meeting, particularly in light of the circumstances, was a comprehensive and enlightening presentation by Interim President Jane Pinchin that included her review of how the entire campus came together on September 11 and in the ensuing days. President Pinchin also presented her assertive plans for energizing the campus and student body for the academic year and outlined her position on critical issues facing Colgate. The president's question-and-answer session following her remarks was open and candid, and her leadership was warmly received by the entire board.

The Alumni Corporation Board of Directors is comprised of fiercely loyal Colgate people who are committed to the notion of lifelong connectedness to alma mater. The September meeting certainly nourished that commitment.

Total Colgate alumni: 27,000
Alumnae: 8,400
Alumni of color: 1,625
International alumni: 656
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