New path announced for young alumni service on Board of Trust

(John Russell/Vanderbilt)

The Vanderbilt University Board of Trust has approved a new approach to involve recent graduates in the university beyond their student days while expanding the opportunities for trustees to interact with all students at Vanderbilt—undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

Beginning this year, a graduating senior will be chosen as a Young Alumni Leader and will begin serving a three-year term on the Alumni Association Board in fall 2015, followed by a two-year term on the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. The first of the Young Alumni Leaders will join the Board of Trust in fall 2018.

“The Young Alumni Leaders will help to provide leadership of Vanderbilt’s 130,000-member alumni community and will gain beneficial preparation and perspective that will serve them and the board well during their service on the Board of Trust,” Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Susan Wente said.

The YAL program will replace the former Young Alumni Trustee program, by which a graduating senior—nominated by a committee of juniors, seniors and the most recent graduating class—was selected to serve a four-year term on the board beginning with the fall following his or her graduation. All current Young Alumni Trustees will serve out their terms.

The process of selecting the first YAL will begin later this month when Dean of Students Mark Bandas and Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations Graham Stewart will put out a call for current seniors to nominate themselves or classmates for consideration as the YAL from their graduating class. Their names will be submitted to a newly established YAL Nomination Advisory Group.

This group will consist of someone from each of the 16 groups represented on the Student Leadership Summit, the co-presidents of the Student Alumni Board and a representative of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. The group will report to and collaborate with Bandas and Stewart. Students serving on the Nomination Advisory Group will be ineligible for YAL consideration.

The YAL Nomination Advisory Group will review nominations and will put forth three to five highly qualified finalists to the Board of Trust’s Governance and Board Affairs Committee, which will nominate one candidate to the full board for election as the Young Alumni Leader at the full board’s April 2015 meeting.

In conjunction with the institution of the YAL program, the board, working with university administrators, will establish a variety of opportunities to broaden trustees’ interaction with the diverse student population—undergraduate, graduate and professional.

“It is important that trustees are able to hear the perspectives of all our students. At the same time, we want to ensure that students can tap into the experience and wisdom of the accomplished individuals who sit on our board,” Wente said.

The types of programming under consideration include meal and coffee events for trustees, students and faculty-in-residence in Vanderbilt’s campus living-learning communities, opportunities for special topic presentations by students during Board of    Trust committee meetings, and trustee presentations on various topics including career development.

“These changes will preserve Vanderbilt’s tradition of involving recent graduates in the Board of Trust, will extend their influence from four to five years, and will give a more representative group of students the opportunity to interface with board members,” Wente said.