In my address to the Class of 2011 in May, welcoming them into the global family of Vanderbilt alumni, I asked them to consider what it means to be a Commodore as they prepare to engage the wider world of commerce, family and society.
For me, being a Commodore begins with a personal commitment to the enduring values of community and civility that inspired Commodore Vanderbilt’s founding gift: to “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”
It also means striving for excellence and maintaining integrity in everything we do. And finally, I think it means accepting personal responsibility for the future of this great institution. These values have united the Vanderbilt family—on and off campus, and across generations—for 138 years.
I challenged the seniors to accept a personal duty of care and stewardship for our alma mater, alongside the tens of thousands of alumni whose generous and sustained support made their own experiences possible. I’m especially pleased to report they get the message: This year’s senior class gift total represented a significant jump over previous years, indicating a major step forward in improving long-term alumni giving.
During the past several months, I’ve also heard from several graduating seniors as well as older alumni who are seeking career advice through the Alumni Career Network on VUconnect. Along with the CoRPs alumni recruitment program for prospective students, this is one of the most direct and personal ways in which we can show solidarity with the greater Vanderbilt family. And it’s immensely rewarding personally.
So if you’re not already signed up on VUconnect and the Alumni Career Network, I strongly urge you to do so. New graduates and alumni making career changes are extremely grateful for our time and insights, particularly today.
JOHN HINDLE, BA’68, PhD’81
President, Vanderbilt Alumni Association