On behalf of the College of Business Alumni Association, Congratulations to the graduates and welcome to the ranks of proud Alumni.
I am honored to be a part of this same ceremony in which I participated almost 20 years ago. As graduates, you have received an outstanding education that will provide you, as it did me, the steadfast foundation for the careers upon which you now embark. I have found my undergraduate education and my continuing relationship with the College to be invaluable.
From here you are about to encounter one of the most significant changes in your life. Embrace the change. Change brings opportunity.
From the moment you leave campus as a new alum, it is important to remain connected to the College. It is this relationship with the College that has led me here, has supported my efforts since graduation and is the topic I want to share with you today. Through the College's Alumni Association, the College continues to offer support through educational, social and networking activities. With your membership in the University Alumni Association, you are automatically a member of the College of Business Alumni Association.
You may take advantage of the benefits of membership in many ways. For those of you who would like to become more involved in Alumni activities and perhaps active in the planning of such activities, the Young Alumni Committee of the College's Alumni Association is geared for Alumni in the first 10 years following graduation. The Young Alumni Committee eagerly welcomes new members. From the Young Alumni Committee, there are opportunities to join the Alumni Association Board, and help plan alumni activities, as I have.
In addition, you may participate in the many activities sponsored by the College of Business Alumni Association; let me share a few. We sponsor the Annual Spring Luncheon held in Chicago (March 12th this year) at which we present the awards for outstanding teachers and alumni. We sponsor the Homecoming Tent Party and, most recently, 125 of us watched the Illini basketball team defeat Arkansas in Chicago. In 2004, we have plans for a speaker series and a family-oriented educational event, for example, at a museum. I am proud to note that the College of Business Alumni Association was the first constituent group to establish a Mathews Scholarship, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate scholarships we have established. Last Thursday, before finals, many of the College's students enjoyed refreshments sponsored by the Association. The Diploma cover you just received was provided by the Association.
The Young Alumni Committee sponsors events which include networking seminars; educational events featuring college faculty members and successful business executives; basketball watching parties; community service activities; and other events.
You can learn more about the College of Business Alumni Association through alternating quarterly publications of Alumni News and Notes and Illinois Business Perspectives; through the monthly College of Business enewsletter and on the Alumni Office Website (the link to the Web site is listed inside the diploma cover or on the University Site). The site has a button that says "Get Involved". Of course, you can visit or call the Alumni Office on campus directly.
The Alumni Association provides wonderful networking opportunities throughout your career. The Alumni Association is a way to continue the relationships you made on campus and to establish new relationships. Whether for business or social reasons, you will find among the membership, others with similar interests, potential clients, potential resources.
The Alumni Association exists for you, take advantage of it. Make sure we have your information -- call the College's Alumni Office or submit it online. Again, to learn more about the Association, call the Alumni Office, communicate with the Young Alumni Committee, call me directly (my contact information is available through the Alumni Office), or ask another Alum. That is the great thing about the Association, we all sincerely want to help you succeed. And, your participation will make us better.
Again, my congratulations and best wishes for success.