Please help me this month by giving me your opinion on a new project called “Alumni Walk,” which will replace an orange-colored brick sidewalk running north to south between University House and the new building at the Hintz Family Alumni Center (colored in red on the map below). We are proposing to replace this sidewalk with “Alumni Walk,” which will accommodate approximately 5,000 four-inch by eight-inch bricks (pretty much the standard size brick), which will each be inscribed with the name and graduation year of alumni members of the Alumni Association who purchase the bricks.
We would like to create “Alumni Walk” for a number of reasons:
- to provide an affordable opportunity for thousands of members to have a physical legacy—a handsomely inscribed brick—at their alma mater (in general) and alumni home (in particular);
- to improve the aesthetics of this sidewalk and make it more consistent with the brickwork in and around the Hintz Family Alumni Center;
- to make an impression on the thousands of students who traipse this walkway daily, conveying to them that the Penn State alumni family is waiting to welcome them after graduation;
- to enhance our membership recruitment efforts since the opportunity to place an inscribed brick on “Alumni Walk” would be a benefit of membership in the Penn State Alumni Association;
- to generate substantial funds ($1 million or more) to continue building our new Student Endowment Fund—annual earnings from which would be used for programs that support our two student groups, Lion Ambassadors and Blue & White Society, as well as other programs designed to introduce students to the Penn State Alumni Association.
“Alumni Walk” will be designed and implemented with the highest standards of aesthetic appeal and structural integrity so that it will simultaneously stand out as special while harmonizing with the overall campus. Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant will oversee the project and the manufacturing by a subcontractor of the 5,016 bricks required for the project.
The total project cost to the Alumni Association is estimated at $285,000. We would like to generate at least $1 million to be used as endowment principle for our Student Endowment Fund. To do so, we would have to price each brick at about $300. Assuming we could sell 5,000 bricks over time, we would ultimately generate $1.5 million. Subtracting project costs would yield about $1.2 million for the Student Endowment Fund
We foresee that “Alumni Walk” will be done in phases over time. We could see what the initial demand brings, and move forward from there, making it a multi-year project. We envision dedicating each of the 38 “fields” of 132 bricks as they are completed by inviting each new group of alumni brick owners to a ceremony during Homecoming weekend.
Please shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com and let me know what you think about the project, pro or con. What I’d like to hear from you is:
- whether this project makes sense from your perspective;
- whether it holds any allure for you and your fellow alumni in terms of wanting to be part of it by purchasing a brick;
- whether we are pricing the bricks affordably;
- whether the several goals of the “Alumni Walk” resonate with you;
- how we might best “market” the project with Alumni Association members.
We’re excited about the potential for “Alumni Walk” and hope you are too. We’re going to need lots of help in putting this project together. Your critical observations and ideas are vital in determining whether and how “Alumni Walk” will succeed.
For the future,
Roger L. Williams '73, '75g, '88g