When the new Alumni Association bylaws went into effect July 1, the leadership structure of your organization was transformed overnight, from a largely honorary board of 46 members to a much smaller, working board of 22. Terms of office were reduced from four years to three, and board rotation was smoothed from 50 percent biannual turnover to 33 percent annual turnover. These changes will bring greater continuity to our governance and will strengthen our ability to create high-impact programs with and for alumni.
At the same time, however, our workload has grown with the adoption of our strategic plan, and we have significantly increased the number of operating committees. We now have four standing committees—executive, planning, awards and nominations—and five new goal committees responsible for the five goals outlined in our strategic plan.
You don’t have to be a math major to see that increasing the number of committees while reducing the size of the board results in some complex algorithms. Fortunately, our bylaws also have opened up committee membership to much wider participation, greatly increasing our talent pool and enabling all constituencies who play a key role in alumni relations to get involved.
I’m happy to report, therefore, that our principal committees now include not only current directors but also student leaders, Alumni Relations staff, young alumni trustees, retired directors, school-based alumni officers, and other alumni volunteers and chapter leaders. Response has been uniformly positive, and the committees are already at work.
We’ll be working closely with senior university leadership, local chapters and other affinity groups as we implement new programs, and we welcome involvement and support from all alumni. This is truly an exciting time in the transformation of the Alumni Association as a valued partner in helping Vanderbilt accomplish its core mission of teaching, research and service.
JOHN HINDLE, BA’68, PhD’81
President, Vanderbilt University Alumni Association