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Global Network Delivers Record Results

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There is great work being done by your alumni association! It is my hope that this report will inspire you to find out more about the programs and services that are offered, and to learn more about the ways they can benefit you.

The Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA) enjoys a strong relationship with the Institute, working in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations. Together, we create and maintain programs of the highest possible quality while strengthening the overall alumni network.

The mission of the RAA is to “engage and empower current and future alumni as active and effective partners with Rensselaer.” The RAA has been very active over the past year in supporting alumni, our current students, and investing in Rensselaer.

Engaging Alumni

There are more than 2,700 active alumni volunteers who participate in a range of activities from fund raising, to affinity and regional chapter programs, to work within individual schools here at Rensselaer. We look forward to engaging even more alumni partners in the coming year.

As the RAA maintains a high level of activity worldwide, we are proud of the fine work being done by the 32 alumni chapters in the United States and seven alumni chapters abroad.

In the past year, the RAA conducted more than 175 events, engaging over 4,400 alumni, a 22 percent increase in overall attendance from 2003. Of these participants, more than 200 were alumni attending their first Rensselaer event. These events provided a chance for alumni to catch up with lost friends and classmates, and to make professional connections while learning more about Rensselaer today.

Each year the RAA recognizes its most valued volunteers with Rensselaer Alumni Association Awards. This year, the Distinguished Service Award, our top honor, went to Leland Bishop ’60, past president of the RAA.

In addition to our regional chapters, we are committed to growing our affinity groups, which unite alumni with similar professional and business interests. Programs have been centered on Rensselaer’s priorities in biotechnology and information technology, as well as the building trades, patent law, and entrepreneurship. Affinity events take place throughout the nation and on campus. For example, in October, our biotechnology group sponsored a campuswide Biotechnology Symposium, where over 400 alumni, students, faculty researchers, business leaders, and others partnered to explore new research and new ventures in biotechnology. Collectively, over 1,200 alumni participated in affinity events, a 23 percent increase from 2003.

It was a record year for attendance at Reunion. Nearly 1,300 alumni and guests returned for the weekend — the largest gathering in the history of the event. (Read more about Reunion 2004)

Reaching Out to Future Alumni

Each year the number of programs supporting current students grows. This year over 4,400 students attended an alumni program, a 41 percent increase from 2003. Events included:

• the Annual Welcome Barbecue, part of the First-Year Experience
• the Junior Ring Ceremony, a new yearly tradition
• the Legacy Family Reception
• Red and White Student Programs
• the third annual RAA Back to Campus Speaker Series.

The RAA Back to Campus Speaker Series brings back notable alumni to speak to our campus community on a topic of particular interest to our students. In March, we were proud to bring back four alumni from the classes of 1994 and 1996 who played an integral role in the creation of the Mars Rovers. More than 200 students attended.

At Commencement, each member of the Class of 2004 received a paperweight engraved with the RAA logo as a token of our congratulations. We are proud to welcome these new alumni, and we look forward to their continued association with Rensselaer and the RAA in the years to come.

Supporting Rensselaer

Another way of supporting our alma mater is through the programs we finance. Since 1988, the Rensselaer Alumni Association has contributed more than a half-million dollars to programs such as the Heffner Alumni House, the RPIdeaLab, and student initiatives.

Rensselaer has announced the beginning of a new campaign, one with a goal of “historic proportions” (see page 4). In the spirit of continued support for Rensselaer and its students, the RAA has pledged a gift larger than any we have ever given, directed toward improvements to our athletic and recreational facilities on the East Campus. Our support will help the entire student body, who desperately need upgrades to the recreational facilities on campus.

2004 Financial Report

The RAA’s fund balance increased 15 percent during the year. Income from operations including the MBNA credit card, alumni-branded merchandise, and our newly expanded travel program was $90,000, and investment income was $151,000. Operating expenses plus investments in Rensselaer programs totaled $128,000, leaving a year-end balance of $877,000.

Looking Toward the Future — 2005 Action Plan

Much has been accomplished, but there is more to do.

• Grow the number of alumni who subscribe to the alumni electronic newsletter. (Visit AlumServ to sign up.)
• Work with the Communications Office to further our understanding about alumni interests.
• Increase the number of attendees at regional and affinity events.
• Strengthen our commitment to the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.
• Work with the Institute to bring back the tradition of Homecoming.

Be sure to check out the latest RAA services, including:
• an enhanced alumni travel program, which offered eight trips this year, including a cruise and a sold-out trip to Russia
• high-quality alumni merchandise
• a custom alumni ring
• a complete line of insurance and financial products from MBNA.

The rest of the world is taking notice — Rensselaer ranks among the finest technological research universities today, and our alumni network is at least as powerful and far-reaching as any of our peer schools’ networks. Be a part of the amazing Renaissance at Rensselaer. Attend an alumni event, take advantage of our programs and services, or take on a volunteer role. Get involved with the RAA today, and see for yourself what all the excitement is about.

Dennis Powers ’63
RAA President

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute.
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