Reflections on the PSAA Alumni Council Meeting

Reflections on the PSAA Alumni Council Meeting

Our new Alumni Council representatives attended their first meeting at Hintz Building on October 29th and 30th.

The first order of business was new member orientation, which was changed this year to include an address from the Alumni Association’s legal counsel. All meetings were closed to Alumni Association members, or ‘the general public’ as the staff refers to us when called to see if it was possible to attend as an observer. Since members could not attend, three of our representatives have shared their personal reflections (see below).

The rest of the two day meeting were devoted to presentations from the staff of the Office of Development, listening to reports by campus groups, committee meetings, and lavishly catered meals. Alumni Council Representative Dr Deborah Beidel broke down the time spent in this handy pie chart.

The meeting did clarify several important points about the Alumni Association’s relationship with Penn State’s Office of Development, the primary fundraising division of Penn State:
  • The Alumni Association is a not-for-profit entity, separate from Penn State. It has business relationships with Penn State and overlapping strategic objectives (which are not voted on or set by the Alumni Council).
  • Alumni Council is the governing body of the Alumni Association, and all of its 100+ members have a fiduciary obligation to the organization and the IRS.
  • The Alumni Association is staffed by approximately 70 employees of the Penn State Office of Development. It does not have one single employee. All of the staff, including the new CEO Paul J Clifford, report to the Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Rod Kirsch, who then reports to President Barron, who reports to the Board of Trustees.
    • Rod Kirsch stated at the meeting that he intends to create a Memo of Understanding that will outline the relationship between the Alumni Association and the Penn State Office of Development, explaining how it controls all the staffing and operations of the Alumni Association.

The Representatives were overwhelmed and grateful for the hospitality shown to them and the members of the Penn State Office of Development staff that run the Alumni Association. They also appreciated the monogrammed stadium blankets, luggage tags and tickets to the Penn State – Illinois football game.

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