One of the major goals of our Alumnae Association is outreach to both our alumnae and to Russell Sage College students. Over the years, the Association Board has organized this work in different ways. For the last few years, we have combined our efforts into one Outreach Committee, knowing that any successes we have with current students will be rewarded many times over as they become alumnae, and further believing—from experience—that many alumnae are interested in and care about the young women who are students at Russell Sage today.
The Outreach Committee of the Association Board is led by Tonia Blackwell ’79; working closely with Toni are: Rachel Diness-Tourtellott ’92, Jeanne Cloutier Markin ’80, and Yolanda Rucker Morris ’97. The 2005-2006 year has been particularly active for this Committee. In addition to continuing traditions that the Association began several years ago—such as providing small treats for RSC students at exam time and encouraging regional alumnae groups to have events for incoming students before they leave for Sage each fall—the Outreach Committee has been working with the Student Development staff to ensure that students of color—and alumnae of color—know they are welcome, respected and critical members of our Russell Sage community.
Last year, we had a get-together at Slingerland Alumnae House for students of color and some alumnae guests. This past February, during the weekend of our Board meetings and in honor of Black History Month, we sponsored a dinner for African-American and Hispanic students and alumnae guests, followed by a special evening of wonderful gospel music, organized by the students and the Student Development staff. This was a first, and we hope the start of another new tradition. Particularly rewarding for me this year, was the recognition given to both Toni Blackwell and Yolanda Morris, by the students and the Student Development staff, for their many years of work—as students, staff, and alumnae volunteers—to strengthen diversity and understanding in the life of Russell Sage College students and alumnae. The Alumnae Association sponsored a dinner for students and their alumnae guests prior to the concert.
Our Outreach work incorporates other traditions binding students and alumnae together. For example, a “pre-Rally” party held at Alumnae House, followed by a supportive showing of alumnae at Rally Day events, and the Alumnae Association-sponsored reception for the Senior Class at Alumnae House, prior to the annual Senior Class Dinner. And, I don’t want to forget that we work with the Senior Class to assist in their selection of an alumna speaker for the annual Cap & Gown Convocation.
Alumnae outreach continues beyond the student years, of course. Our Committee works closely with Alumnae Relations staff to advise and assist with regional alumnae events, whenever possible. Our guiding principle is that all alumnae events, no matter what their purpose or venue, should somehow have a Russell Sage content or character. Both staff and Board volunteers are happy to talk to alumnae who want to plan an event for your area, to help ensure its success.
Naturally, our major outreach event of every year is Reunion. Reunion 2006 promises to be one of the best ever and I hope everyone from the “1s” and “6s” is planning to join us on campus June 2-4 to celebrate. Having experienced reunion events at several other colleges over the years, I have to tell you how very lucky I feel to be a Russell
Sage alumna. Our Reunion is always special; the warmth, the excitement, the fun we all have is not outdone by anyone, anywhere.
In closing I ask two things of you. Refer a bright young woman to Russell Sage, so she can benefit from the kind of excellent education you received. Make a generous gift to the Sage Fund for Excellence in Education. Your participation is important to our students. Your example will inspire them and ensure that our Russell Sage traditions
continue strong into the future.
Mary Ann Oppenheimer ’67