March 2, 2011

Alumni Association Meeting Minutes – Nov. 12, 2010

Lafayette College
Easton, Pennsylvania

November 12, 2010

The Alumni Council of the Alumni Association met at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 12, 2010 in Pfenning Alumni Center, Wilson Room at Lafayette College.


Alumni Council members in attendance: Pamela Gaary Holran ’88 (President), David Reif ’68 (VP Programs, President-elect), Ed Auble ’61, Barry Bregman ’77,  Sherri Jones (Secretary), Alex Karpetian ’04, Lisa Kassel ’79, Amanda Neiderauer ’08, John Pierce ’81, David Schwager ’84, Lauren Steinitz ’08, William Tucker ’81, Michael Weisburger ’82

Alumni Council members unable to attend: John Doyle ’10, Jonathan Ellis ’98, William Kirby ’59 (Vice President, at-large), Meredith Walburg ’03.

Staff members in attendance: Christiane Conn Tomik ’03, Sarah Trimmer.

Guests in attendance: Robert Massa, Bradley Williams ’10.


President Holran welcomed the Council members and staff to the November 2010 meeting of the Alumni Council.


Ms. Holran made a motion to approve the minutes from the August 27, 2010 Alumni Council meeting, seconded by Mr. Tucker and approved by all.


In September 2010, the Alumni Council hosted two Leadership calls for Lafayette chapter leadership.  Jim Benjamin ’84 joined the calls on behalf of the Annual Fund to discuss giving and participation and shared that alumni should expect a letter from President Weiss discussing the importance of participation in the near future.  Ms. Holran would like to allow chapter leadership to take a more active role in planning the agenda for the Spring 2011 calls.

ACTION ITEM: How can the Alumni Council generate participation?    Several members had ideas including adding gifts to event registrations similar to Reunion registration and requesting chapter leaders and Alumni Council members to reach our personally at events such as Wine 3/9.  Mr. Bregman raised the issue of disenfranchised fraternities and the potential loss of connectivity with many of these alumni which prompted Mr. Massa to share an anecdote from Harvard regarding a large disenfranchised affinity group who were asked if they would still give and they replied “Yes, it’s Harvard.”  Mr. Massa then asked, why don’t Lafayette alumni feel the same and how do we cultivate the affiliation to Lafayette College as well as to the affinity group(s).  Ms. Holran asked that all members continue to pay attention to giving and how the Council may help.  She also suggested that participation be a topic at an upcoming Alumni Council meeting, perhaps inviting Jim Dicker, Kim Spang and Jim Benjamin.


Robert Massa, VP of Communications, shared changes made to Lafayette’s website, marketing and communications to prospective students and Lafayette community.  The College took a strategic look at itself, what it stands for and effective communication to position the College aggressively to prospective students and to make alumni proud of their alma mater.  In order to do this, Lafayette hired a consultant and marketing firm and conducted interviews, focus groups and surveys with various constituencies.  Through this process, a conclusion was drawn that the core of the Lafayette identity is the specialization is pushing the boundaries of traditional learning and specifically the cross-disciplinary opportunities between the liberal arts and engineering.

Following this conclusion, it is essential to determine a visual and verbal identity to share the message.  In addition to the new website, the College has adopted a new logo that embodies the spirit of the institution: self-confident and grounded in tradition.  The website also reflects the four messaging points, including:

  • Collaborative, high-impact learning
  • Committed teachers and scholars
  • Extraordinary campus and facilities
  • Involved, focused, and active students

Additionally, the College will enhance the gateways including the Third Street corridor, signage at Cattell/McCartney Streets (President’s House), entrance between McKeen and Gates Residence Halls, and High Street entrance.  Building signage will be updated and new way-finding signs added on campus as well.


Ms. Jones shared that the Alumni Summer College program is planned for July 21 – 24, 2011.  Please visit the ASC website at for additional information.

Ms. Conn Tomik reported that the move from Markle Parking Deck to the Quad for Homecoming 2010 was well-received by alumni and registration was up from 2009.  Additionally, the move to the Quad allowed additional (non-registered) alumni to participate in the festivities without participating in the meal.

Ms. Trimmer shared that the recent Lafayette Choir Tour, coordinated by Alumni Affairs, Admissions and Communications was well-received in New Caanan, Connecticut, where alumni (led by Paul McCurdy, David Reif and Michael Weisburger) took an active role in the event’s success by launching an impressive outreach campaign.  This model is one to consider for future events.


Ms. Holran reported that she was joined by several members of the Alumni Council (David Reif, Alex Karpetian, Lauren Steinitz and Sherri Jones) for dinner with 12 members of Lafayette Student Government.  From this dinner, three conclusions were drawn:

  • Students are looking for personal contact with alumni and not just for career advice; more of a mentorship program
  • Opportunities for students to participate in Lafayette traditions: step-singing, competitions
  • Greater Alumni Council visibility
    • Letter to first-year students
    • Highlight Alumni Council members in the student newspaper
    • Regular opportunities to meet with Alumni Council in smaller groups (lunches?)

ACTION ITEM: Ms. Holran asked that the Alumni Council consider these issues and ideas, understanding not all will be feasible.

Ms. Holran opened a discussion on operations of the Alumni Council and strategies moving forward for Council meetings and committees.  Specifically, she would like to consider the roles and responsibilities of Alumni Council members and staff, the effectiveness of the committees, calendar of events, and the annual meeting schedule (3 versus 4 meetings).

Regarding communications, Ms. Holran was interested in the interaction among volunteers between Council meetings and between volunteers and staff members – how are we communicating?  As far as the meeting format goes, is it necessary to continue with break-out sessions, or is a lot of this information being covered through emails and phone calls?

Ms. Jones reminded the Council of the Alumni Communiqué, established to allow members and committees share information and agendas as necessary.  Ms. Steinitz shared that she appreciated the calendar and would like to make events more transparent in order to more effectively involve volunteers.

V.                  Ms. Holran will plan to share a brief meeting summary and action steps with the Alumni Council before the next meeting.  The Council will continue to meet four times annually until the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year and will evaluate the meeting schedule at the Spring 2011 meeting in March/April.

The next Alumni Council meeting will be on Saturday, January 29, 2011 from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.  Council members are invited to meet as committees beginning at 11:00 a.m. and join the Board of Trustees for lunch in the Wilson Room from 12:00 – 1 p.m.


The Alumni Council was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

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