Fall is always a time of new beginnings on campus. For me this fall is particularly special because it marks the beginning of my tenure as president of the Commerce Alumni Association. I am pleased and honored to serve in this position. On behalf of the rest of the board and all alumni, I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank John Rozinsky, immediate past president, for his two years of splendid service. I know he will continue to serve the alumni, and I will rely on his insight and expertise as I go forward.
During the ten years I have been privileged to be on your alumni board, the number of Commerce alumni has grown steadily. We now number upwards of 35,000. About 37 percent of you are members of the alumni Association. One of the goals of my presidency is to increase alumni participation in the association. Collectively, Commerce alumni possess enormous resources. I would like the association and the college to have better access to those resources.
Your board of directors is comprised of a group of dedicated men and women who care passionately about this college and serving its alumni. The operable word is "serving. This is our organization. So in response to requests from recent graduates, about seven years ago a very active Young Alumni Committee was formed in the Chicago area. This group sponsors activist that are of special interest to recent grads - career workshops, networking activities, and social events. Now I am calling on all alumni to help the present board increase interest and activity in our association. Let us know what kinds of events you would most like to attend. While continuing the time honored, established alumni events, like Homecoming in the fall and the Spring Luncheon, where alumni and faculty are honored for outstanding achievements, I would like to see our association respond to some of the exciting opportunities brought about by the changes and challenges of today's business world. To facilitate more direct involvement between board members and alumni, this fall we plan to compile and circulate brief profiles of each member so alumni can identify the person who relates most directly to his/her interest. You can let us know your views by writing to me, any of the board members listed on page 19 of this newsletter, or to Mary Porter, director of alumni relations.
Take advantage of your alumni heritage. Network with other alumni. Attend social and educational events sponsored by the association and the college. Establish contact with the faculty and administrators on campus. Your alumni status is a key that can open the door to many opportunities. More than half of our alumni live in the greater Chicago area. They have many opportunities to attend our events and return to campus. For those of you who have cast a wider geographical net, there are Illini clubs throughout the nation and around the glove. So no matter where you live, you can make contact with other Illini.
In invite you to become active in the life of the college. You will receive much more than you give. If you take the initiative to do so, you will find yourself greatly rewarded. Some of my most satisfying experiences have come from my ongoing involvement with the college.
For all those coming to Homecoming, the board members and I, along with Dean Thomas and other administrators and faculty, will be on hand to greet you. Come prepared to share your ideas with us.
With warmest regards,
Howard S. Engle
President, Commerce Alumni Association