A message from Julia Hoagland, CSM Alumni Association President
The Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association was 15 when it launched The Colorado School of Mines Magazine, the forebear of Minesmagazine. It was 1895, and much has changed since then, but I believe the association’s values have remained constant: integrity, tradition, education, service, support, involvement and excellence.
This update, sent at a time when we are asking for you to renew your paid membership to the alumni association, is offered to help clarify the role and purpose of the organization, and its place within the larger Colorado School of Mines community.
One area of frequent confusion is the distinction between the alumni association and the Colorado School of Mines Foundation. This is not surprising, while both organizations are separate from one another, the lines can appear blurred.
The foundation raises money for the school with a net that reaches far and wide, providing scholarships and aid to numerous programs. The alumni association is concerned with fostering and strengthening a worldwide Colorado School of Mines alumni community that is responsive to its members and supportive of the school.
Along with publishing this magazine, the alumni association staff achieves this by providing logistical support for a wide variety of events and programs on campus and around the world, most initiated and run by volunteers and section coordinators. To pay the bills, the alumni association mounts an annual membership campaign, which means that, like the foundation, the association asks for your support, primarily in the form of annual $55 memberships.
At the 2010 Leadership Conference at Mines, sponsored in part by the alumni association, keynote speaker Craig Valentine said, “People buy into what they create.” I believe this is particularly true for the alumni association; with each investment we make, I believe the association gets a little stronger. Many times each year the association makes it possible for alumni to hire one another; to refer prospective students; to gather, learn, network and socialize together; to mentor current students, or volunteer in other ways in support of the school or the alumni community; to locate fellow alumni with whom to consult professionally; to invest in the future by supporting the CSMAA Legacy Grant program, endowment funds, or by sponsoring students at events; and to show their Mines pride through CSMAA membership.
The association recognizes dues-paying members in an online annual report and by providing a package of special services and benefits; at the same time, the Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association has always considered every graduate a member. As such, all 24,000 Mines graduates around the world are represented by the association’s 18-member board of directors, which includes one school trustee, a faculty member and two student representatives (see page 37 for a list of current board members). Many of us travel from afar to attend board meetings, serve as the alumni’s voice in the affairs of the school, and provide fiduciary oversight and direction for the association.
Membership dues and donations from senior members constitute the largest source of annual revenue for the association. Support is also generated through license plate sales and two affinity programs, Bank of America credit cards and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Since the association also provides services to the school and the foundation, both provide the association with supplemental financial support. An independent organization, CSMAA files its own tax return, is audited annually, and is led by an executive director who reports to both the alumni board and the school president.
As someone personally acquainted with most of the alumni association’s staff, I know first-hand how hard they work to respond thoughtfully to alumni input. In 2009, based on survey results, the staff incorporated an academic department reunion into the annual reunion, inviting all Petroleum Engineering Department alumni back to campus. In 2010 it was the turn of Mining, Geology and Geophysics; and in 2011, alumni from Economics and Business will gather. When the magazine inquired about content preferences, alumni asked for more people profiles, just take a moment to read those featured here. In response to requests to combine social and networking events with substantive learning opportunities, the staff is preparing for a special series on nuclear energy for alumni and friends to be held in Denver, Houston and Washington, D.C. in 2011. And in the current campus climate that encourages exchange between the school and alumni, the association is building various collaborations with academic departments, the administration and students, our future fellow alumni.
We hope this update is informative and helps to explain how the alumni association operates to support the school and alumni community. If you would like to share your ideas about programming, please get in touch with the association (303.273.3295 / [email protected] / CSMAA, P.O. Box 1410, Golden, CO 80402). And if you want to put a little muscle behind your ideas, even better, we always value and encourage the work of volunteers. That is, after all, our job: to encourage all alumni to keep in touch, stay connected, get involved and give back.