From the President of the Russell Sage College Alumnae Association
At the start of my second term as president of our Alumnae Association, I am proud to report that last year was an excellent year for the Association, and that your Board is looking forward to another productive year.
We started our Board work last year reviewing Association goals and objectives, to ensure our focus is on those areas truly central to both the RSCAA and the College. This process set our sights, not surprisingly, on: our continued work with Admissions; encouraging alumnae support of Sage; and strengthening connections to students and alumnae. Results are promising.
RSC alumnae are actively involved with the Alumnae Admission Program. In June, I reported to the Annual Alumnae Gathering that 88 prospective students were referred by alumnae for fall 2005, with 72 accepted and 35 enrolled. By now those numbers may well be higher. Equally exciting, 29 prospective student legacies (children or grandchildren of alumnae) were accepted and 14 enrolled; they will receive the alumnae legacy scholarship, which is now $2000 per year. Student Sage continued strong last year, with 259 confirmed nominations, 71 admissions and 19 who enrolled. Additionally, 21 alumnae covered college fairs in the spring semester alone.
Volunteering in the Alumnae Admission Program, whether by covering college fairs, working with Student Sage, calling or writing prospective students, or talking about RSC and the value of a women’s college education, is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a strong future for Russell Sage. My thanks and gratitude to all of you who have been part of this; and if you are not, I urge you to join the fun!
One of my stated goals as your president is to increase the Sage Fund for Excellence in Education — in terms of both alumnae participation in the annual giving effort and in the dollars raised. In 2004 RSC alumnae raised more than $600,000 for the Fund. In 2005 we raised more than $1 million! I am very appreciative to the many alumnae volunteers who worked hard in support of this goal, and to all of you who responded. Thank you and let’s do even better this year!
Our Association also seeks to add value to the student experience at Sage. As reported to you last year, we work with Campus Life staff to find new ways to accomplish that objective, thereby strengthening student retention and strengthening the College. In addition to our annual get-together with student leaders, last year we sponsored a diversity reception, bringing together Board members, students, and alumnae from the Capital Region. We listened to bright and articulate young women of color discuss how their experiences and needs differ from those of the alumnae who went before them. Our long-planned student mentor program began last year, slowly but surely. All of this is solid ground-work for the next several years.
We are seeing renewed interest in alumnae activity among younger alumnae outside the Capital Region: in Connecticut, in the greater Boston area, in Central and Western New York. Word is spreading. Contemporary regional activity will not look like the “chapter” activity of the past, but those involved in it are finding it fun and rewarding. If as you read this, you realize you want to be part of regional alumnae activity, please let me, any member of our Board, or the Alumnae Relations Office know. Our Association is committed to working with alumnae and the College to ensure that all the tools of modern communication technology are available to strengthen the wonderful community that is the Russell Sage College Alumnae Association.
We are indeed a very special community, a community that frequently pops up when you least expect it. Some recent examples of my own include: standing on line in a health food store in rural Vermont; sitting in my synagogue in Nashua, N.H.; and meeting a colleague at my new job in Nashua. Someone sees a ring and asks, “Is that a Russell Sage ring?” Suddenly you are exchanging class years, class colors, Rally Day wins or losses, majors, favorite professors. Suddenly you have a new friend.
Our alumnae community is always welcoming. I have lived in New York, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. In each of these places I have found Russell Sage alumnae friends. Our community is strong and diverse. What matters are not the differences, but the commonalities: the shared memories, the shared experiences, the shared values of our Russell Sage education.
This community continues to sustain me on my journey through life, as I hope and expect it sustains you. Together, let us recommit ourselves to help sustain Russell Sage College.
Have a wonderful fall, and don’t forget: Reunion Weekend is June 2-4, 2006—so all you ’6s and ’1s out there, save those dates and join us!
Mary Ann Oppenheimer